Monday, 23 July, 2018

Oil Rises As US Inventories Fall On Strong Demand

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Rhonda Young | 16 June, 2018, 09:27

A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen before a news conference at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016.

This implies that US crude output, which is already at a record-high of 10.8 million barrels per day (bpd), will also rise further, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes.

Monday's talks between Sanjiv Singh, head of IndianOil, India's largest refiner and fuel retailer, and top executives of Chinese oil companies also looked at investing - either jointly or separately - in expanding U.S. oil and gas export infrastructure to raise shipments to Asia as a counterbalance to OPEC, sources said.

Saudi production rose to 10.03 million barrels per day in May, in line with deal quotas, according to OPEC data.

"Recently, crude oil futures have lost some momentum amid uncertainty as traders prepare for potentially more supply returning to the market", said the report.

The strategy has worked with prices having risen from a low of around $26 a barrel in January 2016 to now trade at around $76 for Brent and $66 for West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

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However, it added, "Barring a sharp global economic downturn, we think the risk to the downside is limited by lower spare capacity levels and geopolitical risks". The BJP-led government in India is concerned this will jeopardize its chances in next year's general election with the opposition blaming the government for rising fuel prices.

However, it cautioned that there are possible downside risks to the demand outlook, including "the possibility of higher prices, a weakening of economic confidence, trade protectionism and a potential further strengthening of the US dollar".

The OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed back in November 2016 to curb supply in order to boost then-low oil prices.

Oil prices turned positive on Wednesday after a bigger-than-expected decline in US crude inventories along with surprise drawdowns in gasoline and distillates indicated strong demand in the world's top oil consumer.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are leading a campaign to justify rolling back some of the OPEC/NOPEC production cuts, and are facing opposition from a bloc within OPEC consisting of Iran, Venezuela, and Iraq who oppose boosting production, also because those three don't have the spare capacity to lift production, unlike Russian Federation and the Saudis.

The 14-member oil group uses secondary sources to monitor its oil output, but also publishes a table of figures submitted by its member countries.

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Iraq faces both technical constraints on boosting supply and a political clash with its Kurdish population that's impeded exports, and so may have little to gain from any Opec agreement to raise production.

As Bloomberg writes in an article "Iran Expects OPEC to Stick to Supply Limits", the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners will meet next week and debate whether to restore output halted a year ago.

"Minister Pradhan expressed his concern about rising crude oil prices and its negative impact on consumers across the world".

Saudi Arabia has floated several plans to fellow OPEC members as the kingdom seeks consensus before the meeting in Vienna next week.

There are concerns that oil supplies from Venezuela, which is experiencing economic turmoil, and Iran, which will see a re-imposition of US sanctions following the U.S.' withdrawal from a nuclear accord, could decline, prompting a supply shortage and further upward pressure on prices. A weekly market report from US motor club AAA said the national average retail price for a gallon of gasoline was at a point where consumers may be changing their habits.

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