Disclaimer: it's a fool's errand to predict oil prices, including the trend.
Note: this could all be greatly affected if Russia and Saudi Arabia agree to increase production. We will know more by the end of June / July. "Those" tea leaves suggest Russia and OPEC will raise production using the excuse that loss of production in Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and global demand forecasts for 2019 necessitates such action.
WTI: the tea leaves suggest the price of WTI will continue to rise -- let's stir the tea -- (note to newbies: "tea leaves" have a mix of fact and opinion and it's not necessarily easy to tell them apart; tea leaves look alike) --Now, some background stories.
- a graphic earlier today suggested Saudi Arabia "spare capacity" forecast to shrink significantly in 2019
- there's a story over at oilprice.com suggesting US shale oil won't be able to fill the gap
- the Permian pipeline shortage won't be resolved before 2019
- the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project won't be completed this year (if ever)
- not even the height of summer driving season, and US gasoline demand hits a new record
- refiners are operating at 95.7% capacity and having trouble keeping up with distillate fuel demands
- distillate fuel reserves in the US hit an all-time (if not an all-time low, very close; certainly appeared that way on the graph; needs to be fact-checked)
- China recently shut down new solar installations, suggesting they need more fossil fuel sooner
- Venezuela may import heavy oil to meet refining needs (see below)
- Iraq's instability may affect production
- Iran's sanctions will cause greater shortfall than some pundits suggest
- the chairman of the "US Fed" said their will be four rate hikes this year, partly because "they" expect the price of oil to increase by the end of the year, causing inflationary pressure on the economy
First a graphic: US gasoline demand sets a record --
Venezuela: may import oil for the first time in its history to meet refining needs. [Later: it's now announced -- Venezuela is importing oil to meet refinery demands.]
- the state-run oil company has drawn up plans to import 57,000 bopd to meet demands of its largest refinery
- would need to be heavy oil
- Russian and Chinese customers probably putting the "screws" to PDVSA
- the refinery's capacity: 1.3 million bopd; breaking down; not being maintained
- no comment by Reuters suggesting how this all came about
Spare capacity: posted earlier; I'm not concerned with this data, either.