January 19, 2019

Oil prices rise on Venezuelan supply troubles, but U.S. output surges

10 June 2018, 08:19 | Joann Bryant

Crude Oil

Crude Oil

US President Donald Trump last month pulled out of an global nuclear deal with Iran, announcing the "highest level" of sanctions against the OPEC member.

While the USA government has often expressed opinion against OPEC's oil price-fixing policies-including a recent comment by President Trump, asking for a specific amount of oil production boost is a rare move, Bloomberg's sources noted.

Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch rival, has always been a close United States ally, but direct pressure on any Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member is rare.

Industry data released yesterday from the American Petroleum Institute had said USA crude inventories fell by 2M barrels last week.

Riyadh has said that even though prices have spiked to over $80 per barrel, the highest since 2014, the market has yet to recover from a long slump.

United States oil production has seen a record high and exports are hitting records as well. The producers have been considering a supply increase of up to 1 million barrels per day, sources told Reuters. Global reserves decreased by 0.4% year over year in 2017 and OPEC reserves dipped 0.3%, mostly due to lower production from Venezuela, the current world leader with reserves of almost 303 billion barrels.

Pradhan is referring to the prospect of Saudi Arabia increasing production under the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in order to offset undue market tightening as a result of dramatically declining output in Venezuela and declining exports from Iran (as a result of the USA resuming sanctions against the Islamic republic).

But Opec is signalling it could increase output, and the danger of a global trade war has just bubbled up again as a threat to demand.

Gasoline stocks rose by 3.8 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations for a 587,000-barrel gain. The increase shows that lack of supply that is coming from OPEC crude relative to supply from US production.

In December 2016, at a meeting of oil producers in Vienna, 11 non-OPEC member countries agreed to cut oil production by a total of 558,000 barrels a day. Crude prices will be volatile until the meeting and any announcement regarding future production.

The company is raising pricing to Asia as competing barrels from fellow OPEC producers Venezuela and Iran have dwindled from that market or are expected to become more scarce in coming months.

Reuters reported in late May that OPEC and its allies could raise production by about 1 million bpd from July to address any potential oil shortages.

"Venezuela's worsening economic crisis, together with ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, will remain supportive of oil prices", Abhishek Kumar, Interfax Energy senior analyst said.

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