Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Saudi Arabia will stick to global oil deal, pact could be extended

President Trump Departs The White House En Route To Indianapolis Trump hailed stronger than expected performance of the US economy today
Russell Knight | 01 May, 2019, 02:27

Despite a shaky global economy, oil prices have surged by about 36%-42% since January, lifted by supply cuts led by the Middle East-dominated producer club of OPEC as well as by US sanctions on producers Iran and Venezuela. "However, because the supply situation remains tight a renewed price rise is probable".

Also supporting prices was government data showing that USA crude production fell in February for the second month in a row, sliding 187,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11.7 million bpd.

The Saudis face a tricky task to balance the market and help revive their economy while fielding U.S. President Donald Trump's public jibes to accelerate output and help lower gasoline prices. On Friday, Trump said he had called OPEC to tell the group to bring down prices.

Crude had hit a six-month high this week after the US said it wouldn't renew waivers allowing China and other major economies to import 1.4 million Iranian barrels a day.

The comments were in reaction to expectations the two countries would fill any supply gap caused by a tightening of the United States sanctions on Iran.

OPEC, Russia and other non-members, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from January 1. Iran posted OPEC's biggest supply drop this month of 150,000 bpd, the survey found.

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The IMF warned in a biannual economic outlook report that prospects for the region, including the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are "clouded by elevated levels of uncertainty".

Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran's oil exports in November following the USA withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear accord. As a result, Iranian exports are expected to fall further in May.

The situation in Venezuela, an OPEC member whose oil exports have been hit by US sanctions and an economic crisis, was fluid on Tuesday. Venezuela was once a top-three OPEC producer.

Under the OPEC-led deal on supply cuts, Saudi Arabia can pump up to 10.3m bpd.

Russian Federation has said it would be able to meet China's oil demand needs as Beijing tries to replace the imports it usually gets from Iran.

Saudi Arabia will not rush to boost oil supply to make up for a loss of Iranian crude due to United States sanctions, and will stick to a global deal on oil production, which could be extended to the end of 2019, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told RIA news agency.

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