Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Venezuela is said to urge OPEC to unite against sanctions

Oil prices higher on Venezuela exports concerns Please OPEC Please! The Energy Report 06/05/18
Jean Garcia | 08 June, 2018, 22:20

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, were at $77.45 per barrel at 0051 GMT, up 13 cents, or 0.2 per cent, from their last close. Brent crude, the global benchmark, added $1.96, or 2.6%, to $77.32 a barrel.

Crude prices ticked up Thursday, as the market refocused on geopolitical risks to supply in Iran and Venezuela ahead of a meeting of major producers later this month.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $66.14 a barrel.

At the same time, supply disruptions continued in Venezuela, as the country is behind on oil shipments to customers by nearly a month, according to data provided by Reuters.

U.S. crude oil production hit another record last week at 10.8 million barrels per day (bpd). That compared with 9.6 million bpd in April.

The reelection of the country's far-left president, Nicolás Maduro, on May 20-in a race deemed illegitimate by the opposition and many foreign governments-prompted the U.S.to broaden a ban on Americans buying Venezuelan debt.

Further weighing on prices has been surging US output, which hit another record last week at 10.8 million bpd.

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The surge in U.S. production has pulled down U.S. WTI crude into a steep discount versus Brent to more than $11 per barrel, its steepest since 2015.

Despite Friday's decline, Brent remains more than 15 percent above its level at the start of the year.

Markets have been tightened by supply trouble in Venezuela, where state-owned oil company PDVSA is struggling to clear a backlog of about 24 million barrels of crude waiting to be shipped to customers.

"It's insane and astonishing to see instruction coming from Washington to Saudi to act and replace a shortfall of Iran's export due to their Illegal sanction on Iran and Venezuela", Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), told Reuters.

OPEC and Russian Federation will meet on June 22/23 to decide whether to increase production following a fall in global inventories.

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday after Venezuela raised the prospect of a halt to some crude exports, but gains were capped by reports that the US government had asked Saudi Arabia and some other producers to increase output.

Headlines on OPEC members' plans for the meeting later this month will lead to volatile market swings, said Tariq Zahir, managing member of Tyche Capital Advisors in NY.

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