Oil producers agree to stabilise global market

27 September, 2018, 08:31 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • Saudi energy minister rips Trump tweet: 'I do not influence oil prices'

Oil benchmark Brent traded little changed on Wednesday after rising to its highest in almost four years in the previous session, while U.S. crude futures fell as United States' officials tried to assure that the market would be well-supplied before sanctions are re-imposed on producer Iran.

A decade ago, Brent crude surged to almost US$150 a barrel, only to crash just months later as high fuel prices and the global financial crisis triggered a slump in demand.

Brent crude futures were down 4 cents at $81.83 a barrel by 0342 GMT, after gaining almost 1 per cent the previous session.

Oil prices are now hovering uncertainly amid dwindling exports from Iran, poor production from other OPEC members and Brazil, decelerating output growth in the United States, and an uncertain consumption outlook.

The so-called "OPEC+" group, which includes the likes of Russia, Oman and Kazakhstan, met at the weekend to discuss a possible increase in crude output, but the upshot of the gathering was that the group was in no rush to do so.

"Fears that supply will be hit when the U.S. sanctions on Iran kick in come November are pushing up oil prices", said Madden. "We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!" he wrote on Twitter.

The United States is coordinating policy on sanctions and production closely with both Saudi Arabia and Russia; the US energy secretary has met both his Saudi and Russian counterparts in the last fortnight. That was the highest level since November 12, 2014.

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OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and its biggest ally outside the group, Russia, have pushed back against complaints by US President Donald Trump that oil prices are too high, Reuters reported.

In June this year, however, after months of cutting by more than their pact had called for amid involuntary reductions from Venezuela and other producers, they agreed to boost output by returning to 100 percent compliance.

The Saudi Arabian energy minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters at a gathering of energy ministers both from OPEC and non-OPEC countries in Algiers on Sunday, "I do not influence prices".

OPEC's reticence, combined with signs of accelerating supply losses from Iran, created a bullish mood the annual gathering of the Asian oil industry, traders, refiners and bankers in Singapore on Monday. But the American Petroleum Institute points out that during that time, exports fell 1.3 million barrels per day.

4 will target Iran's oil exports with sanctions, and Washington is putting pressure on governments and companies around the world to fall in line and cut purchases from Tehran.

Worse, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories are at their lowest since early 2015. Furthermore, it leaves the market extremely vulnerable to supply disruptions.

"We expect that those OPEC countries with available spare capacity, led by Saudi Arabia, will increase output but not completely offset the drop in Iranian barrels", said Edward Bell, commodity analyst at Emirates NBD bank.

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