At an OPEC meeting in Beijing last week, the Saudi and Russian energy ministers both announced their plans to significantly reduce oil inventories.
In this Industry Focus: Energy clip, Motley Fool energy analysts Sean O'Reilly and Taylor Muckerman explain what exactly the energy ministers said, how the stock market reacted, how big of a deal this could be for the price of oil, and some speculation on why they might want this so much now.
A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on May 16, 2017.
Sean O'Reilly: We have to talk about two parties that desperately want oil to be $100 a barrel, which is Saudi Arabia and Russia. On, what was it, Monday of this week, OPEC got together in Beijing, China.
Taylor Muckerman: Of all places.
O'Reilly: I think they were like, "We have to see what demand is doing over here."
Muckerman: Chinese demand has been waning a little bit.
O'Reilly: Although, on the other hand, I think their domestic production has fallen 80% year over year, so that's not great. Anyway, after the meeting, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, I'm totally getting that right, I think, the two ministers agreed to do whatever it takes to achieve the desired goal of stabilizing the market and reducing commercial oil inventories to their five-year average level. So, they want oil inventories to be lower. The Saudi oil minister added, "We've come to the conclusion that the agreement needs to be extended." Oil, of course, popped, what was it ...
Muckerman: 3.8%, almost $50. Almost $50.
O'Reilly: It's come down a little bit throughout the day. Between these two countries alone, you're talking about 20 million barrels a day of crude production and the planet produces 90-something. Is it 94? So, this is a little over 20% of global production in that room, never mind the rest of OPEC in there. I'm pretty sure, correct me if I'm wrong, OPEC is at 40%-45% of total global production?
Muckerman: If you add it all together, that sounds about right.
O'Reilly: And I'm including, of course, Venezuela. They really want oil up. [laughs]
Muckerman: They're trying.
O'Reilly: I had a friend who asked me what was up, and I was like, your guess is as good as mine, but the Saudis really want that Saudi Aramco IPO to go really well in a couple of years.
Muckerman: Yeah, they're talking, $100 billion, $1 trillion, maybe.
O'Reilly: I think we might have mentioned on the show a month ago, but the Saudis want Aramco to be valued at $2 trillion.. By the way, Apple just crossed the $800 billion mark consistently.
Muckerman: Well, Apple isn't sitting on a bunch of oil reserves. They're just investing $200 million in Corning --
O'Reilly: The Saudis don't have the iPhone, or the Apple car, or whatever it is they're doing.
Muckerman: They don't have an Apple car, either.
O'Reilly: [laughs] Touche. Yeah, they're trying to make the brain for or whatever, relax. Give Tim Cook some leeway.
Muckerman: Not anymore.
O'Reilly: I don't know if you saw, but Bloomberg had that piece a month or two ago, I think we mentioned this, but they've having a hard time justifying the $2 trillion valuation, even if oil got up there.
Muckerman: The valuation is reliant on future cash flows. So, if the demand for oil and production from other places around the world are rising, cash flows might not be there to justify $2 trillion.
O'Reilly: And I think their evil plan was to select 10% of the company to the public, and then raise, ergo, $200 billion, and -- oh look, then they have the same amount of cash as Apple.
Muckerman: Yeah, they might spend it more wisely on solar projects, not just hoarding it and buying back shares.
O'Reilly: [laughs] You know what Apple does? They actually have a ton of T-bills.
Muckerman: I know, it's super unimaginative.
O'Reilly: I think they get 3% on them.
Muckerman: How do they get 3%? Are they doing 30 years?
O'Reilly: Yeah, 30-year T-bill is at 3.4% now.
Muckerman: Do you want me to trust Tim Cook, and that's what he's doing with $250 billion right now?
O'Reilly: What are you supposed to do?
Muckerman: I don't know, invest more than $200 million in Corning.
O'Reilly: In Corning?
Muckerman: That's what they did, they invested $200 million in Corning recently, because they make the glass for their iPhones.
O'Reilly: Yeah. I would be super nervous that they were just after IP. Anyway, we're going to save this for Dylan tomorrow for the Tech show.
Muckerman: Yeah, really, pass the baton.
O'Reilly: So, Saudis want oil up for various reasons.
Muckerman: I mean, all of them too, not just Saudi Arabia. The Russians do too, which is why they agreed to cut until March, nine more months.
O'Reilly: I'm sure there's a few oil men here in the States that wouldn't mind that, either.
Muckerman: Nine more months.
O'Reilly: Yeah, they said it's going to go through March next year.