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Bringing Order to Crude Chaos: The benefits and challenges of AI/ML applications in crude oil

todayJuly 5, 2024

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  • Benefits of AI/ML applications in crude oil
  • Challenges faced in implementing these technologies
  • Case studies of successful implementations

Amir Azar, Partner, Quantum Horizon Capital

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Transcript

At this point, I'd love to bring up Doctor Amir Azar, who will be giving a talk on crude markets. What I find really interesting, and we had a great conversation in preparation for this, is how he's using artificial intelligence to analyze markets. I think this is applicable to many different products. So let's have a round of applause for Doctor Azar.

Thank you. Is the mic on? Nice. Thank you, Howard, for the opportunity to be here. The title we have chosen here is “The Crude Oil Chaos,” which I think is an understatement. The oil market often acts contrary to expectations. Today, we will focus on the elements playing in this market, identifying which are quantifiable and how AI/ML can help us navigate this chaos.

Starting with the supply side, let's discuss OPEC production. The cartel's policies, whether to increase or decrease production, may or may not impact oil prices and are highly political. Additionally, we have Russia as part of OPEC Plus, adding complexity.

US rig activities also have a direct impact on crude oil. High prices can create higher rig activities, which can then put downward pressure on oil prices. Another key factor is the strategic petroleum reserves. Though intended for emergencies, recent government decisions to release reserves have interfered with market dynamics.

Geopolitics also plays a significant role. The relationships between OPEC Plus and Russia, the US and China, and crises in the Middle East or the war between Russia and Ukraine add layers of risk. The Strait of Hormuz, a 20-mile waterway through which 20% of oil passes, is a high-risk location given the political conflicts in the Middle East.

On the demand side, global GDP growth impacts crude oil demand and prices. The US dollar's appreciation or depreciation also affects oil prices. China's demand, although somewhat opaque, can be gauged through industrial activities. Renewable energy is another player that will increasingly impact the oil market.

In the US, the marginal barrel of oil, primarily from shale oil, plays a crucial role. The cost of capital significantly influences shale oil activities. Low interest rates during the shale revolution led to a boom in shale production. Elements like the high yield market and investment grade market also affect the cost of capital and subsequently oil production.

To summarize, numerous factors affect crude oil fundamentals and prices, some quantifiable and some not. The question is whether AI/ML can help us position ourselves better. Just to give an example, gasoline prices fluctuate with economic cycles and refining margins. Identifying patterns visually can be challenging, but AI/ML can help aggregate and analyze the impact of these factors.

One way to approach this is by integrating data and using cloud-based systems for flexible computation. Utilizing publicly available data and building proprietary datasets is crucial. Visualization tools can help identify patterns and trends.

Dynamic positioning and limited human discretion are key to managing trade and risk. Systems should adjust to market volatility and minimize human biases. Visualization tools like dashboards can help monitor market conditions and the impact of various elements on prices.

Continuous introduction of new data is essential for AI/ML models to remain effective. Models should be constantly recalibrated and reevaluated to avoid biases. Learning from failed efforts is also crucial. For instance, on February 16, 2024, unexpected market behavior highlighted the importance of accounting for aggregated small details and political decisions.

Happy to answer any questions.


Q: As you train your model, do you exclude outliers and extreme events like COVID-19, which are few and far between?

A: Yes, we do exclude extreme events like COVID-19 from our training because they introduce irregularities that are difficult to model. Excluding such events helps maintain the accuracy and reliability of the model.

Q: In a situation where strategic petroleum reserves are released and sanctions are imposed on major producers, how does your model capture the market reaction?

A: The release of strategic petroleum reserves and sanctions are often politically motivated rather than economically driven. The model can identify elements that positively or negatively impact prices, but predicting such politically driven decisions remains challenging.

Q: How do you manage the training of your model for future black swan events and plan for their impact?

A: Managing for black swan events involves conventional risk management strategies. Increasing risk management costs through options can provide protection during volatile times. It's essential to combine ML-driven and traditional risk management approaches to mitigate unexpected events.

Q: Does your model account for CTA-like activity?

A: No, our model does not currently account for CTA-like activity.


And with that, it's time to break for lunch. Let's give Doctor Azar a round of applause. Thank you for a very insightful and informative presentation.

Written by: Commodities People


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PARTNER

PARTNER

Molecule is the modern and reliable ETRM/CTRM. Built in the cloud with an intuitive, easy-to-use experience at its core, Molecule is the alternative to the complex systems of the past. With near real-time reporting, 30-plus integrations, and headache-free implementations, Molecule gets your ETRM/CTRM out of your way – because you have more valuable things to do with your time.

Molecule provides next-generation P&L, and near real-time VaR and position reporting for companies that trade any kind of commodity. Molecule can be used for power, natural gas, crude oil, renewables, biofuels, liquids, metals, agricultural products, softs and FX futures/options.

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Founded in 2015, cQuant.io is an industry leader in analytic solutions for energy and commodity companies. Specializing in Total Portfolio Analysis, cQuant’s cloud-native SaaS platform simulates all risk factors, optimizes portfolio decisions, and includes dynamic reports and dashboards for better decision making. cQuant’s customers have greater insight into their financial forecasts and the drivers of value and risk in their business.

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We deliver “Agility at Greater Velocity”, because we care about creating outstanding outcomes and because we take ownership for solving the toughest technical challenges. As a result of this approach, we typically deliver high-risk, high-profile and time-constrained projects in less time than competitors, often significantly so.

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Gen10 focus on making the day-to-day tasks of commodity and carbon trading faster and simpler through automation and collaboration. Our technology empowers our clients, completing the feedback loop between trading and finance to support smarter, safer trading decisions.

The cloud-first technology can be accessed on any device, with systems providing lifecycle carbon credit management as well as complete commodity management. And our platforms combine all the features you expect of a CTRM with enhanced operational risk controls and greater support for logistics and operations to create end-to-end commodity management.

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In today’s fast-paced information age, with insecurities about climate change, political developments, and increasingly volatile markets, it becomes more and more challenging to have access to the right knowledge in- and outside the company. This increases risks in the daily financial and physical operations, and challenges adequate and controlled decision-making.

RadarRadar provides your business with the knowledge it needs to succeed. As technology company we continuously aim to support our clients with strong data management and advanced risk tools. It is our mission to enable companies to unlock the full potential of their data to improve risk and margin management and boost performance.

RadarRadar. World leader in real time food & energy

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WISTA Switzerland is a key global shipping and trading hub, with regional clusters in the Geneva Lake area, Zug/Zurich and Locarno. The shipping and trading activity in Switzerland provides over 35’000 jobs and represents 3.8% of the Swiss GDP. Switzerland, and Geneva in particular, is also home to international organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

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ASSOCIATION PARTNER

The Propeller Club – Port of Geneva is a professional association providing opportunities for Shipping and Trading professionals to network and develop their knowledge.

Founded in 1983, the Club has been actively involved in the local and international Shipping and Trading community and presently is proud to have about 160 members including individuals working as shipowners, traders, charterers, logistics providers, agents, banks, insurers and lawyers as well as a large number of companies active in the market.Geneva is a global hub for Shipping and Trading and in an industry where network is key to one’s individual and to the industry’s success, the Propeller Club serves a vital role.

The Propeller Club organises a range of events which are open to the Shipping and Trading community both in Geneva and those visiting for work or pleasure. These events include monthly evening events focused on specific topics combining learning and networking opportunities. On a more social level, the Club organises networking events such as our annual events to celebrate Escalade, an annual outing on the Neptune on Lake Geneva and a summer lunch. The Club also organises drinks events to promote networking in the larger community.

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Gafta is the international trade association representing over 1900 member companies in 100 countries who trade in agricultural commodities, spices and general produce. Gafta is headquartered in London and has offices in Geneva, Kiev, Beijing and Singapore. More than 90% of Gafta’s membership is outside the UK. With origins dating back to 1878, Gafta provides a range of important services that facilitate the movement of bulk commodities and other produce around the world.

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To find out more about ITFA, please visit www.itfa.org or send an email on info@itfa.org
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ASSOCIATION PARTNER

The International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) is the worldwide trade association for companies, financial institutions and intermediaries engaged in trade and the origination, structuring, risk mitigation and distribution of trade debt. ITFA also represents the wider trade finance syndication and secondary market for trade assets. ITFA prides itself in being the voice of the secondary market for trade finance, whilst also focusing on matters that are relevant to the whole trade finance spectrum.

ITFA presently has close to 300 members, located in over 50 different countries. These are classified under a variety of business sectors, with the most predominant being the banking industry. Others include forfaiting, insurance underwriters, law firms, fintechs as well as other institutions having a business interest in the areas of Trade Finance and Forfaiting.

To find out more about ITFA, please visit www.itfa.org or send an email on info@itfa.org

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The DSI is a global initiative based in Singapore, backed by an international Governance Board comprising leaders from the International Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the World Customs Organization.
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ASSOCIATION PARTNER

The ICC Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) aims to accelerate the development of a globally harmonised, digitalised trade environment, as a key enabler of dynamic, sustainable, inclusive growth.  We engage the public sector to progress regulatory and institutional reform, and mobilise the private sector on standards harmonisation, adoption, and capacity building.

The DSI is a global initiative based in Singapore, backed by an international Governance Board comprising leaders from the International Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the World Customs Organization.

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ASSOCIATION PARNTER

ASSOCIATION PARTNER

BIMCO, the practical voice of shipping, is the world’s largest international shipping association, with around 2,000 members in more than 130 countries, representing over 60% of the world’s tonnage. Our global membership includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers, and agents. BIMCO is a non-profit organisation. 

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ASSOCIATION PARNTER

ASSOCIATION PARTNER

Founded in 1972, ANRA is the Italian Corporate Risk and Insurance Managers Association. The main goal of the Association is to promote the establishment and development of risk management knowledge in Italy and to strengthen its own reputation of privileged interlocutor as well as institutional representative for matters concerning risk management. ANRA intends to offer to its members professional update programmes and the opportunity of exchanging experiences.

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ASSOCIATION PARTNER

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ASSOCIATION PARTNER

CTRMCenter™ is your source for everything ‘CTRM’. This online portal, managed by leading CTRM analysts – Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech), features the latest news, opinions, information, and insights on commodity markets technologies delivered by some of the industry’s leading experts and thought leaders. The site is visited by more than 1500 unique visitors per week. CTRMCenter also includes free access to all of ComTech’s research in the form of reports, white papers, interviews, videos, podcasts, blogs, and newsletters.

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TFG’s award winning educational resources serve an audience of 160k+ monthly readers (6.2m+ impressions) in print & digital formats across 187 countries, covering insights, guides, research, magazines, podcasts, tradecasts (webinars) and video.
MEDIA PARTNER

ASSOCIATION PARTNER

Trade Finance Global (TFG) is the leading trade finance platform. We assist companies to access trade and receivables finance facilities through our relationships with 270+ banks, funds and alternative finance houses.

TFG’s award winning educational resources serve an audience of 160k+ monthly readers (6.2m+ impressions) in print & digital formats across 187 countries, covering insights, guides, research, magazines, podcasts, tradecasts (webinars) and video.

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HR Maritime, founded in 2008 by Richard Watts, is a Geneva based company providing services to the International Trading, Shipping and Trade Finance Industries. With a client base both within Switzerland and around the globe we offer guidance and implement tailored solutions to the range of problems besetting a company involved in the Trading, Shipping or Financing of commodities. We work with Commodity Traders, Importers and Exporters, Ship Owners and Managers, P&I Clubs, Insurance Underwriters, Trade Financiers, Lawyers and a number of associated service providers. With our broad knowledge and experience across many areas of business, geographical regions and various commodities, we are able to approach nearly any problem or situation with a practical, pragmatic and innovative solution. We are equally at home working on enhancing efficiency within the largest trading companies as with small exporters or importers looking to break into the international markets. Our services focus on Consultancy, Outsourcing and bespoke Training.
MEDIA PARTNER

ASSOCIATION PARTNER

HR Maritime, founded in 2008 by Richard Watts, is a Geneva based company providing services to the International Trading, Shipping and Trade Finance Industries. With a client base both within Switzerland and around the globe we offer guidance and implement tailored solutions to the range of problems besetting a company involved in the Trading, Shipping or Financing of commodities. We work with Commodity Traders, Importers and Exporters, Ship Owners and Managers, P&I Clubs, Insurance Underwriters, Trade Financiers, Lawyers and a number of associated service providers. With our broad knowledge and experience across many areas of business, geographical regions and various commodities, we are able to approach nearly any problem or situation with a practical, pragmatic and innovative solution. We are equally at home working on enhancing efficiency within the largest trading companies as with small exporters or importers looking to break into the international markets. Our services focus on Consultancy, Outsourcing and bespoke Training.

ABOUT Commodity Trading Club

Headquartered in Switzerland, Commodity Trading Club is the world's largest community of professionals in commodity trading, shipping, and finance, spanning the entire globe. We provide a broad spectrum of benefits, including exclusive business networking events and a cutting-edge commodity trading platform, fostering members' career and business growth.
ASSOCIATION PARTNER

ASSOCIATION PARTNER

Headquartered in Switzerland, Commodity Trading Club is the world's largest community of professionals in commodity trading, shipping, and finance, spanning the entire globe. We provide a broad spectrum of benefits, including exclusive business networking events and a cutting-edge commodity trading platform, fostering members' career and business growth.