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Saudi Arabia Says Oil Curbs Could Extend Beyond End of 2017

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Crude oil
  • Saudi Arabia Says Oil Curbs Could Extend Beyond End of 2017

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said he’s confident that an agreement by producers to curb crude output and shrink a market glut will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond.

While U.S. shale output growth and the shutdown of refineries for maintenance have slowed the impact of cuts by OPEC and its partners, producers are determined to reach their goal of reducing bloated stockpiles, Khalid Al-Falih said at the Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. He said he’s confident the global oil market will soon rebalance and return to a “healthy state.”

Surging U.S. production has raised concern the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners are failing to reduce an oversupply and prop up prices. Oil has surrendered all its gains since their deal late last year to cut output and with OPEC meeting in Vienna later this month, several nations have said they’d support an extension of the 6-month agreement that began in January. This is the first time the Saudi minister has suggested it could be extended beyond 2017.

“Based on the consultations I have had with participating members I am rather confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond,” Al-Falih said. “The producer coalition is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our target of bringing stock levels back to the five-year average.”

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1 percent to $46.66 a barrel by 2:14 p.m. Singapore time on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, was up 1 percent at $49.60 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Both are still more than 50 percent below their peaks in 2014, when the U.S. shale boom exacerbated a market glut and triggered the biggest price crash in a generation.

“Given the extent of the over-hang I think they always knew the market was not going to rebalance in six months which is why our base case was always for a deal lasting at least one year, and if not longer,” said Virendra Chauhan, an analyst at industry consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. “Market expectations were lofty, and so OPEC will need to surprise the market with either a deeper cut, or possibly a longer than six-month extension to get prices to move higher.”

Failed Mission

Al-Falih said last month that OPEC and its partners have failed, after three months of limiting output, to achieve their target of reducing oil inventories below the five-year historical average. Group member United Arab Emirates said earlier in May that the producer group should extend the collective production cuts into the second half of the year when an expected upturn in demand will help to re-balance the crude market.

Russia, which is not member of OPEC but is part of the deal, also thinks it will be necessary to extend the reduction deal, according to Energy Minister Alexander Novak. The producers agreed last year to curb output by as much as 1.8 million barrels a day starting January. OPEC will meet in Vienna on May 25 to decide whether to prolong the deal beyond June.

While the producers curbed supply, production in the U.S., which is not part of the agreement, has risen to the highest level since August 2015 as drillers pump more from shale fields. But American crude inventories are showing some signs of shrinking, falling for the past four weeks from record levels at the end of March.

Global Demand

OPEC may have to extend its cuts for “some time” if shale pursues its relentless growth, Citigroup Inc. said in a report dated May 7. The central tenet behind the group’s decision to curb supply looks to be based on view that it’s a temporary measure, with global underinvestment in new capacity leading to a supply-gap in coming years, according to the bank. But that fails to see rapid growth in shale is displacing investment decisions that are higher up the cost-curve, the report said.

Despite lingering headwinds, the oil market is improving from early last year when markets were at a low, Al-Falih said. Stockpiles at sea have declined and U.S. inventories will continue their downward trend, he said. Global demand, meanwhile, will probably be stable from the “healthy rate” seen last year, driven by China and India, the Saudi minister said, adding that Asia was the most important market.

There’s about 20 million barrels a day of combined demand growth and natural oil-field output declines that need to be offset, Al-Falih said. “No matter how fast U.S. shale grows, it wont make a dent in that number,” he said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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