February 18, 2019

Saudi king agreed to raise oil output up to 2m barrels

02 July 2018, 11:33 | Joann Bryant

Jason Redmond Reuters

American crude price jumps to four-year high on massive US inventory draw

Outside North America, oil prices have been rallying for most of 2018 due to record demand and voluntary supply cuts led by the Middle East dominated producer cartel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). That was after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom would honor the OPEC decision to stick to a 1-million-barrel increase.

"Prices too high! He has agreed!"

It was not immediately clear what total level of Saudi production Trump was expecting or by when.

Following a consolidation phase during the first half of the day, crude oil extended its rally in the NA session with the barrel of West Texas Intermediate rising above $74 for the first time since November 2014.

Looming U.S. sanctions against OPEC-exporter Iran are also fuelling Brent prices.

Donald Trump has said Saudi Arabia agreed to his request to increase oil production by "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels" to make up for sanctions hitting Iran and Venezuela.

Saudi oil officials did not immediately comment. Demand for oil has overtaken supply because of production shortages in Libya and Venezuela.

"There is also some analysis from energy sector experts who say that Saudi Arabia could perhaps increase its daily output but it would only be for a very short time and the quality of the oil produced would be very low amd very hard to refine". A gallon of regular gasoline sold on average in the US for $2.85, up from $2.23 a gallon previous year, according to AAA. The nations agreed at a meeting in Vienna last with other OPEC members to modify earlier reductions in output.

China's yuan slipped to a new low against the USA -dollar on Friday CNHUSD=R and despite a slight recovery was on course for its worst month on record, as the increasingly bitter trade row with the United States threatened to rattle the world's second-biggest economy.

Japanese refiners are ramping up purchases of USA crude as it becomes cheaper relative to their usual Middle East supplies and are assessing heavy grades from US shale production as a replacement for supplies from Iran, industry sources said.

In briefings since then, Opec officials have signaled the extra volume is likely to be in the range of 700,000 to 1 million bpd. Russian Federation plans to increase output by more than 200,000 bpd.

But the industry sources said India, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, will be forced to take action to protect its exposure to the USA financial system.

Saudi Arabia now produces some 10 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Iran's rial currency has lost up to 40 per cent of its value since last month, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

However, the recovery in momentum was gradual as the reduction in supplies due to OPEC led voluntary cut and unplanned supply disruption from Canada, Libya and Venezuela were virtually balanced by high U.S. shale output.

Japan ramped up purchases of Iranian crude after the end of sanctions, buying an average 172,216 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, or around 5 million barrels a month. This is one of Trump's plans to pressure the US' allies into cutting off funding to Iran.

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