Venezuela sanctions leave oil market short of heavy crude

Share

Most new supply is coming from the United States, where crude production rose by more than 2 million bpd a year ago to a record 11.9 million bpd, making the country the world's biggest oil producer ahead of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude futures continue to track higher with bulls eying a break above the 2019 peak ($63.63/bbl).

Analysts said markets are tightening amid voluntary production cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and because of US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.

The OPEC, which Saudi Arabia de-facto leads as the world's top crude oil exporter, said on Tuesday that it had cut its output by nearly 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81 million bpd.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $54.16 per barrel at 0413 GMT, up 26 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last settlement.

Brent oil prices rose on Wednesday after top exporter Saudi Arabia said it would cut crude exports and deliver an even deeper cut to its production while USA futures gained on a decline in domestic oil inventories.

OPEC production fell to a four-year low in January as the cartel applied a new pact to boost global oil prices, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday, but Russian Federation and other ex-Soviet states failed to cut back output as much as promised.

More news: A Breaking Bad movie is on the way to Netflix
More news: Lloris urges Tottenham supporters to create special Wembley atmosphere
More news: McConnell takes aim at Ocasio-Cortez with Green New Deal vote

The OPEC's 14 members pumped 30.81 million bpd in January, down from 31.60 million bpd in December, according to its Monthly Oil Market Report.

The IEA also raised its estimate for the increase in non-OPEC crude supply in 2019 to 1.8 mbd, which is 0.3 mbd higher than previously.

USA crude oil production remained at a record of 11.9 million barrels per day (bpd).

Venezuela's diminished importance in the global oil market and as a supplier to the United States has emboldened the USA administration to take a tough approach in attempting to oust the government of Nicolas Maduro. The supply cuts, which also include Russian Federation and nine other non-OPEC producers, took effect on January 1.

Oil descended into a bear market in November, a swift drop from four-year highs seen in October, as traders grew anxious over strengthening USA production and an outlook for softer global fuel demand.

The IEA noted that new USA sanctions announced in January on Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA have not so far caused market jitters.

The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of USA sanctions. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

Share