Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Oil Prices Rise on Growing Supply Worries

Oil strong as U.S. decision on Iran sanctions looms FxWirePro: Uphold WTI hedging via call spreads and Brent via time spreads on trade tariffs, sanctions and geopolitical
Lloyd Bates | 08 May, 2018, 00:56

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the USA, tacked on 56 cents, or 0.8%, to $75.42 a barrel, after climbing to $75.89 earlier in the session, its highest since November 2014.

Additionally, U.S. energy companies added nine oil rigs looking for new production in the week to May 4, bringing the total count to 834, the highest level since March 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes said last Friday.

"The focus of oil markets is now on the United States president's pending decision on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal", said Victor Shum, an oil industry analyst at research firm IHS Markit.

Saudi Arabia is the OPEC member that wants higher prices as it prepares for the listing of state oil giant Aramco.

Oil prices face a day of reckoning as the USA decides whether it will remain in the Iranian nuclear accord, and the realization is that due to underinvestment in oil it might be hard to replace Iranian oil if it is taken off the market. Member nations of OPEC and Russian Federation earlier engineered a large output cut lead by Saudi Arabia, which is seeking to push oil prices up to $80 a barrel to help fund its planned economic overhaul.

Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, re-emerged as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when some global sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme.

Analysts said a crisis in Venezuela, a major oil exporter, underpinned prices.

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"If ConocoPhillips is successful, then it will limit the revenues PDVSA will have and give them even more problems paying their bills and producing their oil", said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition in Stamford. Venezuela's oil output has halved since the early 2000s to just 1.5 million bpd, as the country has failed to invest enough to keep its production and refinery facilities maintained.

Shannon Rivkin, investment director of Australia's Rivkin Securities, said that oil prices had been driven up "thanks to growing concerns over the economic collapse of Venezuela and its oil industry, plus possible new sanctions against Iran from the Trump administration".

Iran has come out against higher prices, after a rally of over 12% this year on output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies as well as rising geopolitical risks in the Middle East.

Goehring expects the oil market to lose at least several hundred thousands barrels a day if the US decides to end the Iran deal. This is contrary to the global reflation trade that so many have been betting on over the past year and perhaps a warning sign on the sustainability of higher oil prices.

In other data, the U.S. rig count increased by nine to a total of 834 producing oil rigs. Looming over markets, however, is surging U.S. output, which has soared by more than a quarter in the last two years, to 10.62 million bpd.

However, a rise is expected in this year as the energy firms are keeping on drilling.

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