Oil prices fall on expectation Russia, Saudi Arabia will raise output

22 June, 2018, 15:59 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • Oil rises ahead of OPEC, pressured by China tariffs

Brent hit a 3-1/2-year high above $80 a barrel in May but has since fallen on reports that top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation will increase production.

Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: "It's going to be hopefully a good meeting".

Following a sharp increase in crude prices from their sub-$30 per barrel lows in 2016, the group on June 22 will meet in Vienna, Austria, to discuss forward policy.

Non-OPEC members including Russia, Oman and Mexico also agreed to cut 558,000 bpd off their production to stabilise the market.

OPEC is up for a tough meeting in Vienna this week after the leaders of the two groups of the OPEC/NOPEC production cuts-Saudi Arabia and Russia-have signaled that they are willing to boost production to offset what is sure to be further supply disruptions, mostly from Venezuela's collapsing oil industry and from a potential decline in Iran's oil exports in view of the returning US sanctions.

The historic 24-nation pact has succeeded in its goals of balancing oil markets and lifting crude prices, and the two biggest producers want a relaxation of quotas as soon as next month. Iran faces renewed US sanctions that will impact its oil industry and Iraq has production constraints. That could keep a cap on prices and limit how much money Opec makes at higher production levels.

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Zanganeh said he would leave Vienna on Friday before OPEC holds talks with non-OPEC producers the next day and added a recent rise in oil prices was mainly the fault of Washington, which imposed new sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela. However, most OPEC members are not able to increase production at this stage due to lack of investment and sanctions. But U.S. production has not reached the maximum rates in the past year and in the first half of this year. The risk is that Saudi Arabia will choose to go it alone, boosting output.

Tankers waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude, nearly as much as state producer PDVSA shipped in April, are sitting off the Opec member's main oil port. With potential 1 million barrels/day addition by OPEC, the market looks to be well supplied until next year. "Combined with Iranian sanctions, more floating storage, this could reverse the decline in OPEC-related tonne-mile demand that resulted from the production cuts of 2017", the broker said.

Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in NY, said indications from OPEC members and other large producers on the scale of potential production increases would drive the oil market this week.

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said storage capacity at Ras Lanuf port had been cut by 400,000 barrels after a second crude oil tank was set on fire amid fighting between rival factions for control of two key export terminals.

Whether they can convince those producers whose output is falling to accept an outcome where prices are lower than they might otherwise have been could have implications for not just near-term oil prices but the stability and effectiveness of OPEC in future.

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