Oil Prices Rise On Larger-Than-Expected OPEC Production Cuts

Oil Prices Rise On Larger-Than-Expected OPEC Production Cuts

Oil Prices Rise On Larger-Than-Expected OPEC Production Cuts

Saudi Arabia to reduce crude production by half a million bpd more.

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.

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.

Oil watchers will be placing a close eye on the OPEC monthly report, which will take into considering the supply cut agreement made by OPEC+ at the backend of 2018.

IEA figures show Venezuala's output dropping by roughly 30,000 barrels per day to 1.26 mbd.

Production has been hampered by corruption, political interference and lack of foreign investment and technology to maintain existing fields and develop new ones. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is cutting output to prevent a worldwide surplus, while member nation Iran is being hit by American sanctions.

United States oil supplies dropped by almost 1M barrels last week, API reported.

Saudi Aramco is the world's biggest oil company, producing ten million barrels of oil a day and managing 260 billion barrels in reserves.

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

In the meantime, the political rift between Venezuela and the United States continues with the US sanctions against the South American nation giving prices a slight boost.

"Despite the forecast global oil inventory draws in February and lower forecast OPEC crude oil production in 2019 compared with the January STEO, EIA forecasts that US crude oil production growth will offset decreases in OPEC production throughout the forecast". "Saudi Arabia, are intending to push more barrels into the market to offset shortfalls" of heavier grades of crude, the IEA warned.

For refineries that have invested in delayed coking units, however, heavy crudes can yield large volumes of middle distillates (gasoil, diesel and jet fuel).

Bank of America also warned of a "significant slowing" in global growth, adding that it expects Brent and WTI to average $70 and $59 a barrel respectively in 2019 and $65 and $60 in 2020.

"The imposition of sanctions by the United States against Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is another reminder of the huge importance for oil of political events", the IEA said.

John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst.

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