Sunday, 16 December, 2018

President Trump pressuring OPEC to increase oil production ahead of crucial meeting

ANALYSIS- Gulf rift hits OPEC with Qatar's exit Oil prices skid amid global stock market slump, swelling US supply
Orlando Vargas | 06 December, 2018, 15:44

Oil output from the world's biggest producers - OPEC, Russia and the United States - has increased by a 3.3 million bpd since the end of 2017, to 56.38 million bpd, meeting nearly 60 per cent of global consumption.

Oil prices fell along with weak stock markets on Thursday, but trading was tepid ahead of a meeting by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In a tweet on Wednesday, the president warned OPEC against restricting oil flows and said the world does not want to see higher oil prices.

Major producers such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Kuwait pounced on the occasion to produce as much oil as they could, anticipating a steep drop in Iran's exports which did not happen.

Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC's crude oil production has risen by 4.1 percent since mid-2018, to 33.31 million barrels per day (bpd).

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Oil prices were pressured by a weekly report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) that said United States crude inventories rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week to November 30, to 448 million barrels, in a sign that U.S. oil markets are in a growing glut.

Although Russia, the largest producer in the wider group known as OPEC+, agreed to a cut in principle, the eventual size of their contribution remains undefined and will be key to putting together the final deal.

"We hope to conclude something by the end of the day tomorrow", the Saudi minister, Khalid al-Falih, told reporters, according to Reuters.

When President Trump announced his decision to pull the US out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic, many oil producers ramped-up production over fears of the effects the sanctions would have on trading.

The United States is not part of any output-limiting initiative due to its strict anti-trust legislation and fragmented oil industry. But Washington gave sanctions waivers to some buyers of Iranian crude, further raising fears of an oil glut next year. Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported. "Being too cautious on the words, to please President Trump, runs however the risk of diluting the message", said Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix consultancy. "How OPEC communicates this to the market may be just as important as what gets done". Only the headline has been changed.

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