Thursday, 21 March, 2019


Oil rises to $67 on cuts to Saudi, Venezuelan exports

Khalid al Falih speaks during a news conference in Riyadh Pradhan red flags higher crude oil prices to Saudi Arabia
Conrad Doyle | 12 March, 2019, 16:58

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday it would be too early to change OPEC+ output policy at the group's meeting in April and that China and the USA would lead healthy global demand for oil this year.

Crude oil prices rose 0.13 percent to Rs 3,972 per barrel on March 12 as speculators created fresh positions amid positive cues from global markets. In particular, Saudi Arabia's oil production in February fell to 10.136 million bpd, a Saudi industry source told Reuters on Friday, down from 10.24 million bpd in January.

The extension of the deeper-than-agreed output cuts in April signals that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to press for any change at the next full OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for mid April in Vienna.

A host of involuntary supply curbs in OPEC members caused by unrest in Libya, and USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, have also helped to boost prices.

The Saudi cuts come after Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in late February that USA crude inventories were "brimming" and reducing the glut was the main objective of the OPEC+ coalition. "But, barring this, I think we will just be kicking the can forward", Mr Falih said. The group agreed to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months.

Gross exports from Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are expected to hold steady at current levels of more than 8 million barrels per day and more than 9 million barrels per day, respectively, while the US increases exports from 4.5 million in 2018 to almost 6 million this year and more than 8 million barrels per day in 2021. "Aramco is finalizing their April allocations today or tomorrow so we will know more on Monday".

"Ongoing trade disputes between major powers and a disorderly Brexit could lead to a reduction in the rate of growth of global trade and oil demand", the IEA said in its medium-term oil-market report, which covers the period to 2024.

On the other hand, production in USA hit a record of more than 12 million bpd in February.

The agency suggested that US' crude oil exports will almost double, reaching about 9 million barrels per day by 2024, which means it has a tangible chance of surpassing Russian Federation and even Saudi Arabia at that point. "In addition, global GDP growth has been soft and oil demand has yet to pick up seasonally", Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report on Monday.

He also invited Saudi Arabia to partner with India in building strategic oil reserves and further invest in India's refining and Petrochemical sectors.

Analysts see rising oil prices as good for Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer that runs a mono-economy driven by oil proceeds.

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