Thursday, 25 April, 2019

UK Crude hits five-month high above $71 on Libyan supply threat

Petroli Europa Press- Archivo Petroli Europa Press- Archivo
Priscilla Morrison | 11 April, 2019, 08:39

Brent and WTI crude oil futures have risen by more than 30 per cent and 40 per cent respectively since the start of the year.

Crude oil prices opened higher Wednesday with ongoing tensions in Libya, and with sanctions on Iran and Venezuela hindering secure supply, however, a weaker global growth expectation could keep some cap on rising prices.

Worldwide benchmark Brent futures were at $70.62 per barrel at 0716 GMT on Monday, up 28 cents, or 0.4 per cent from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose 64 cents, or 1%, to $64.62 per barrel, holding just below their strongest level since November.

Prices were also boosted by USA sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, as well as supply cuts by the OPEC and allies including Russian Federation, a group known as OPEC+.

A latest report by global wealth management and investment banking company Stifel said that the crude oil market will likely be undersupplied in the second half of this year, creating opportunities for investors.

"OPEC production has fallen 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd) from October levels", ING bank said in a note. "Declines from these two exempt countries account for nearly 47 percent of the reduction seen from OPEC", ING said.

Iran's oil production is estimated to drop to 2.65 million bpd in 2019, from 3.85 million bpd in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Oil 2019 Report released on March 11.

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Russia, not an OPEC-member but a reluctant participant in the supply cuts, signalled yesterday it wanted to raise output when it meets with OPEC in June because of falling stockpiles.

Oil production in the United States has risen by more than 2 million bpd since early 2018, to a record 12.2 million bpd.

Crude inventories rose 7 million barrels to 456.6 million barrels in the last week, their highest since November 2017, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.3 million barrels.

"WTI has not seen the same strength (as Brent). given the relatively more bearish fundamentals in the US market", said ING bank.

"Even though the crude oil inventory rise was almost equal in size, the focus of the complex, as we head into peak summer driving season, is gasoline", said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in NY.

On the demand side, there are concerns that an economic slowdown will soon hit fuel consumption.

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