Friday, 26 April, 2019

OPEC squeezes oil output to 4-year low, Russia compliance low

OPEC cuts & US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela boosting global crude prices Opec tightens its taps as global oil demand stalls
Priscilla Morrison | 13 February, 2019, 19:09

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Khalid al Falih, told the Financial Times that the kingdom would reduce production to about 9.8million bpd in March, down from a record high of 11.1million bpd in November.

USA restrictions on Venezuela's energy sector have crippled exports and threaten to remove some 330,000 bpd in supply from the market this year, according to Goldman Sachs.

West Texas Intermediate, the USA marker, was up 1.9 per cent at $53.38 a barrel.

Anxious by a drop in oil prices and rising supplies, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russian Federation agreed in December to return to supply cuts.

Most of those crudes have an even higher sulfur content than Venezuela's, which will require extra processing to make fuels of acceptable quality, and in any event the quantities are limited in the short term. American supply growth this year will exceed Venezuela's total output, the IEA said, another signal that OPEC's efforts to buoy prices may ultimately prove self-defeating.

The IEA noted that new USA sanctions announced in January on Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA have not so far caused market jitters.

The biggest impact on demand will be a U.S.

More news: OnePlus to show off a 5G smartphone prototype at MWC 2019

Crude supply will average 12.41 million barrels a day this year and 13.2 million in 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday, up more than 300,000 barrels a day from the previous month's estimates.

Venezuela was once a major oil exporter to the United States, but shipments have fallen from 1.4 million bpd in 1998 to around 500,000 bpd in 2018 ("Petroleum supply monthly", EIA, Jan 2019). Any economic slowdown could cap oil markets.

Venezuela has tried to find alternative customers, especially in Asia, but under USA pressure many buyers there are also shying away from dealing with PDVSA. The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of USA sanctions.

"Nevertheless, this would not lift the global economy beyond the growth forecast".

The sudden embargo on Venezuela's exports has therefore sent refiners in the United States and elsewhere scrambling to find alternative supplies compatible with their equipment.

Global oil cartel Opec said Tuesday it sharply reduced crude oil production last month, after heavyweight Saudia Arabia slashed output and exports fell in crisis-hit Venezuela. "This is because, in terms of crude oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations", the group added.

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