OPEC cuts 2019 oil demand forecast on global slowdown

Adjust Comment Print

Venezuela's crude production slumped from 3.8 million barrels per day in 1970 to just 1.7 million bpd in 1985, recovering to 3.4 million bpd in 1998 before slumping again to 2.1 million bpd in 2017.

Supply issues in OPEC-member Venezuela are also bolstering oil prices as the South American country suffers a political and economic crisis, with Washington introducing petroleum export sanctions against state-owned energy firm PDVSA.

Soaring output is putting the US on course to become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products next year.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Khalid al Falih, told the Financial Times that the kingdom would reduce production to about 9.8million bpd in March, down from a record high of 11.1million bpd in November.

More news: Illegal Alien Confesses to Murder of New York Woman: 'We Are Devastated'

Production has been hampered by corruption, political interference and lack of foreign investment and technology to maintain existing fields and develop new ones.

Prices of the American reference for the sweet light crude oil are prolonging the recovery on Wednesday, trading at shouting distance from the $54.00 mark per barrel ahead of the EIA report. Any economic slowdown could cap oil markets.

Sanctions announced last month prohibit USA corporations and persons from financial transactions with state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Venezuela has tried to find alternative customers, especially in Asia, but under US pressure many buyers there are also shying away from dealing with PDVSA.

More news: Rare Animal Sighted in Kenya for the First Time in 100 Years

World oil markets have been on a rollercoaster ride in recent months, with the OPEC+ group agreeing to cut back production again from January in order to reverse a slump in oil prices on abundant production and worries about slower global growth. The EIA, however, added a note of caution that USA production would be capping oil price gains. "Saudi Arabia, are intending to push more barrels into the market to offset shortfalls" of heavier grades of crude, the IEA warned.

USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have choked off supply of the heavier, more sour crude that tends to yield larger volumes of higher-value distillates, as opposed to gasoline.

Mid-distillates are especially prized at the moment with the forthcoming introduction of new bunker fuel regulations by the International Maritime Organization from the start of 2020.

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.

More news: Di Maria makes abusive gestures to United fans after PSG opener

If refiners are unable to source enough heavy and extra heavy crude, they will buy the next best alternative, in this case medium density crudes, so the impact of sanctions is rippling through the entire oil market.

Comments