Oil Prices Go Up

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Venezuelan crude production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) because of USA sanctions.

Output declines in OPEC because of the supply pact, plus the sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, have exceeded expectations.

In its latest monthly oil market report, the Paris-based IEA said production by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) kingpin Saudi Arabia dropped to its lowest level in two years in March after the cartel agreed to cuts with Russian Federation and other ex-Soviet states.

That is down 9.4 percent from 10.23 million bpd in February as state-owned refiners began maintenance.

"Electrical outages added a further hurdle to Venezuelan production, which fell by 290,000 barrels per day in March to 732,000 barrels per day".

Oil prices have recovered sharply since December, when they fell to a 15-month low, and ICE Brent has been trading a five-month high of above $71 per barrel this week. Macroeconomic uncertainties can take their toll on oil demand, the IEA said.

Oil prices fell on Thursday, pressured as US crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in nearly 17 months amid record production and as economic concerns cast doubt over growth in demand for fuel.

According to the report, only time will tell if the EIA current demand forecast (1.4 mb/d) proves accurate, but the "risks are now to the downside".

In December, OPEC and other major oil producers, including Russian Federation, pledged to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day in order to prop up prices, effective from this January.

There is worldwide shortage in the oil market due to the interventions in production by the oil cartel OPEC.

Russian Federation is also ready to boost supplies.

"The huge increase in oil production we saw in the second half of 2018 has reversed following the implementation of the new Vienna Agreement and the increasing effectiveness of sanctions against Iran and Venezuela", Paris-based IEA said Thursday.

The kingdom has decreased production by 1.30 million bpd since November when it pumped a record high of 11.09 million bpd.

In March, OPEC crude oil production tumbled by 550,000 b/d with losses in Venezuela, together with lower output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

At the last OPEC meeting in Vienna, the group's members agreed to slash output by 812,000 bpd, with Russian Federation and nine other non-OPEC allies committing to a cut of 383,000 bpd for the first six months of 2019.

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