June 18, 2018

Oil Drops on Surprise Inventories Increase

10 June 2018, 08:18 | Melvin Schneider

Please OPEC Please! The Energy Report 06/05/18

Oil prices higher on Venezuela exports concerns

Trump announced last month that the US would back out of a deal with Iran that sought to curb the country's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

While there are those who believe that OPEC will vote to increase production when their agreement runs out, they are more likely to use rhetoric to keep prices stable.

Brent has been pushed up by voluntary production cuts led by the Middle East dominated producer cartel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and by top producer Russian Federation, which were put in place in 2017. The American Petroleum Institute was said to report nationwide crude inventories declined by over 2 million barrels last week.

OPEC is in its second year of an effort to erase a surplus in global crude oil inventories through coordinated production cuts.

Washington was anxious that the sanctions would curb deliveries from Iran and push oil prices up, the sources said.

"The rise in stockpiles was also driven by a strong increase in imports, with Saudi Arabian crude nearly doubling to 1.12 million b/d last week", ANZ bank said in a note. However, the deal will expire at the end of this year.

Oil prices on Thursday rose on the back of plunging exports by OPEC-member Venezuela, recovering some ground lost in the previous session, although another surge in USA production still weighed on markets, traders said, Reuters reports.

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Outside OPEC, however, there were ongoing signs of rising output.

Gasoline stocks rose by 3.8 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations for a 587,000-barrel gain. Prices have been trading under pressure following comments from Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia that they could consider curbing their output cuts when they meet on June 22.

OPEC exports increased to 578 billion dollars a year ago from 451,800 million dollars in 2016, stressed the group's Annual Bulletin of Statistics 2018.

Brent futures for August settlement declined 49 cents to US$74.89 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after closing 9 cents higher yesterday.

Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili asked the chairman of the OPEC board to include a sanctions debate on the agenda for the June 22 talks, according to a copy of Kazempour's letter dated June 2 and seen by Reuters. "We always have conversations with the United States about the stability of the oil market". This much tighter market is easily spooked by threats to supply.

The group is due to meet at its headquarters in Vienna, together with top producer but non-OPEC member Russian Federation, on June 22 to discuss production policy.

Reuters reported in late May that OPEC and its allies could raise production by about 1 million bpd from July to address any potential oil shortages. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High!

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