Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Oil prices rise on OPEC supply cuts, United States sanctions on Iran, Venezuela

The International Energy Agency The International Energy Agency
Priscilla Morrison | 15 March, 2019, 16:09

Hours before the Election Commission announced the dates of the Lok Sabha polls, India and Saudi Arabia came to an understanding to revive and "expedite" the implementation of $44 billion West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra, in which Saudi Aramco will be holding a considerable stake.

Brent crude futures were at $66.75 per barrel, up 17 cents, or 0.3 per cent. The EIA forecasts 2019 US crude production of 12.3 million barrels a day, down 0.9% from the February forecast.

Both benchmark crudes have climbed for three straight days and are near four-month highs.

US crude oil stockpiles declined unexpectedly last week as output slipped from record highs and refining rates edged up, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Global oil demand growth is set to ease as China slows, but it will still rise by an annual average of 1.2 million bpd to 2024.

"While the revision is small, the comforting part for bulls was that the direction of the revision was down rather than up", Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.

More news: Iran promises 'crushing response' after Netanyahu calls to block its oil trade

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell 672,000 barrels, their first drawdown in a month, the EIA said. The EIA posts its weekly statistics at 1430 GMT.

Export of crude from Venezuela goes down due to massive power outage.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, lifted by output cuts led by producer group OPEC as well as healthy demand, although analysts said economic headwinds posed downside risks to crude markets.

Saudi's participation in the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve program was discussed at a meeting between the kingdom's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi on Saturday, according to a government statement on Sunday.

Traders also pointed to the political and economic crisis in OPEC-member Venezuela as a driver for oil prices.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol noted that the second wave of the "US shale revolution is coming", adding that the significant rise of US' share in global oil production and the gas trade "will shake up worldwide oil and gas trade flows, with profound implications for the geopolitics".

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