- Oil Prices Drop to One Year Low on Rising Global Supply
Global oil prices plunged to their lowest levels in a year after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih said the Kingdom’s production in November would surpass October’s output.
The fall in prices has increased the possibility of OPEC going ahead with production cut in its Vienna meeting scheduled for December 6. The cartel is expected to announce oil production next month.
In the last seven weeks, oil prices have dropped over 30 per cent in value due to Iranian waivers and slowing global growth.
“I have to say that the speed in which the oil market has declined has surprised me even as OPEC and non-OPEC members discuss a production cut,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates. “The market does not think it will be enough.”
Price of Brent, against which Nigerian Crude is measured, dropped 5.9 per cent to $58.9 on Friday. The lowest since October 2017.
While U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil declined by 7.7 per cent to $50.42 a barrel. Also, the weakest price level since mid-October 2017.
Falih on Thursday said Saudi Production level would hit 11 million barrels per day in November, more than the 10.6 million pumped in October. Currently, the Kingdom is pumping a record 10.8 million to 10.9 million bpd.
Despite projected slow in demand in the first quarter of 2019, crude oil production continued to rise.
In the U.S, crude oil production rose to 11.7 million barrel per day, according to preliminary weekly report.
While Russia has maintained post-Soviet-era highs above 11 million barrel per day in recent months.
Therefore, rising global supply amid slowing global growth is weighing on oil outlook as investors look to cut their long positions.
Tamas Varga, a senior analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a note: “The question is … How much longer (are) bears are able to keep firing?.” Suggesting until OPEC reached a solid production agreement, oil is likely to average $60 – $65 a barrel in the next quarter.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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