Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Opec oil production falls as Saudi Arabia slashes output

Crude Oil OPEC cuts & US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela boosting global crude prices
Russell Knight | 13 February, 2019, 21:41

Most of that reduction has been thanks to Saudi Arabia.

Oil production in Venezuela, which has been rocked by a crippling economic crisis, spiralling political turmoil and U.S. sanctions, meanwhile sank by 59,000 barrels per day.

US sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company are tightening the global oil market and sending refiners around the world scrambling to find replacements for the country's diesel-rich heavy and extra heavy crudes.

Refineries are built to handle a certain quality of crude, and those which process so-called heavy crude from Venezuela, Canada or the Middle East can not be easily converted to treat the light shale oil that is now being produced in greater quantities in the United States.

Given the six- to eight-week sailing time between the Latin American country and destinations in Asia, it's likely that the pinch of USA sanctions will only be felt in April, given that all February cargoes and most of March's are already en route.

OPEC says its members reduced production by about 0.8 mb/d to 32.806 mb/d: "Demand for OPEC crude in 2018 stood at 31.6 mb/d, 1.3 mb/d lower than the 2017 level and in 2019 the demand would decrease further 1 mb/d".

Venezuela sanctions have arrived in a market that was already likely to be short of medium and heavy crudes because of USA sanctions on Iran and OPEC's output cuts.

But a bill in the U.S. Congress to enable the Justice Department to sue OPEC+ members for antitrust violations has the potential to disrupt OPEC efforts to limit oil supply.

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Larger-than-expected production cuts by some major oil suppliers and falling seasonal crude inventories due to growing demand are set to push up oil prices, Goldman Sachs said.

In response to Maduro's call for aid, an OPEC spokesman familiar with the subject matter had been quoted saying that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), declined to make any formal statement and said that they were more concerned about their policies, not politics. "Saudi Arabia, are intending to push more barrels into the market to offset shortfalls" of heavier grades of crude, the IEA warned.

IEA figures show Venezuala's output dropping by roughly 30,000 barrels per day to 1.26 mbd.

Numerous region's refineries are new and are optimised to process heavy and sour crudes. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news.

Despite the political rifts between Venezuela and the United States, US refiners have in the past been some of the biggest buyers of Venezuelan crude.

In a sign of excess supply, OPEC's report said oil inventories in developed economies were above the five-year average in December.

John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst.

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