Essays in Risk Management for Crude Oil Markets
Al Mansour, Abdullah
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This thesis consists of three essays on risk management in crude oil markets. In the first essay, the valuation of an oil sands project is studied using real options approach. Oil sands production consumes substantial amount of natural gas during extracting and upgrading. Natural gas prices are known to be stochastic and highly volatile which introduces a risk factor that needs to be taken into account. The essay studies the impact of this risk factor on the value of an oil sands project and its optimal operation. The essay takes into account the co-movement between crude oil and natural gas markets and, accordingly, proposes two models: one incorporates a long-run link between the two markets while the other has no such link. The valuation problem is solved using the Least Square Monte Carlo (LSMC) method proposed by Longsta ff and Schwartz (2001) for valuing American options. The valuation results show that incorporating a long-run relationship between the two markets is a very crucial decision in the value of the project and in its optimal operation. The essay shows that ignoring this long-run relationship makes the optimal policy sensitive to the dynamics of natural gas prices. On the other hand, incorporating this long-run relationship makes the dynamics of natural gas price process have a very low impact on valuation and the optimal operating policy. In the second essay, the relationship between the slope of the futures term structure, or the forward curve, and volatility in the crude oil market is investigated using a measure of the slope based on principal component analysis (PCA). The essay begins by reviewing the main theories of the relation between spot and futures prices and considering the implication of each theory on the relation between the slope of the forward curve and volatility. The diagonal VECH model of Bollerslev et al. (1988) was used to analyse the relationship between of the forward curve slope and the variances of the spot and futures prices and the covariance between them. The results show that there is a significant quadratic relationship and that exploiting this relation improves the hedging performance using futures contracts. The third essay attempts to model the spot price process of crude oil using the notion of convenience yield in a regime switching framework. Unlike the existing studies, which assume the convenience yield to have either a constant value or to have a stochastic behaviour with mean reversion to one equilibrium level, the model of this essay extends the Brennan and Schwartz (1985) model to allows for regime switching in the convenience yield along with the other parameters. In the essay, a closed form solution for the futures price is derived. The parameters are estimated using an extension to the Kalman filter proposed by Kim (1994). The regime switching one-factor model of this study does a reasonable job and the transitional probabilities play an important role in shaping the futures term structure implied by the model.