Caracas outruns the barrel counters

Back in the 1990s, Venezuela, like some other Opec countries, used to fudge its crude production numbers to avoid accusations of breaching its Opec quota. Until recently, Caracas was still blurring the data, not to sneak extra barrels into the market, but to keep the market from knowing how much its production was falling.

Over the past few months, Venezuela looks to have come clean on the data —  so clean that even secondary sources like Argus are racing to knotch down their estimates of Venezuelan output. It’s a far cry from the days when official data routinely exceeded secondary source estimates.

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Northwest Europe holds stocks back

European near-curve prices rallied in November despite early indications that there will be more gas left in storage at the end of the winter than in most recent years.

Cold weather in November, and forecasts for it to extend into December, supported TTF contracts for delivery over the remainder of the winter. And the firmer gas prices are especially evident when comparing gas with coal — its main competition — as the TTF day-ahead market has climbed to levels that would make even the highest efficiency plants uncompetitive.

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