Friday, 26 April, 2019

Oil prices climb as USA threatens sanctions against Venezuela

Daily March WTI Crude OilMore Daily March WTI Crude OilMore
Lloyd Bates | 27 January, 2019, 15:44

US crude stockpiles rose the most since November last week and gasoline inventories climbed to a record, government data showed on Thursday.

The response may have been delayed, but traders on Friday finally reacted to the crisis in Venezuela by causing crude prices to climb, albeit modestly, and all but completely ignored news of a spike in us production that would have normally sent prices plummeting.

Record U.S. production would likely offset any short-term disruptions to Venezuelan supply due to possible U.S. sanctions, Britain's Barclays said in a note.

The bosses of USA companies Occidental Petroleum and Hess Corp, attending a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said growth in US shale oil output would slow.

U.S. crude oil imports increased, while exports decreased during the week ending January 18, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.

Still, the long-term trend is a declining dependence on Venezuelan oil.

Bloomberg television looked at Venezuela another way: when asked if a change of government would enable the country to get more rigs back on line and therefore cause crude prices to drop, Liam Denning, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, pointed out that even if the sanctions weren't imposed and the country underwent a smooth transition to a new government, it would take a long time for oil production to fully recover.

The U.S. government could lessen the blow by phasing in restrictions on Venezuelan oil imports in a way that mirrors the trend U.S. refineries have already always been adjusting to, said John Auers, executive vice president of the refining consultancy Turner, Mason & Company. However, it has not yet taken that step, nor has it elected to cut off supply of US oil that goes to Mexico.

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Though the United States produces almost 12 million barrels of oil a day, complex Gulf Coast refineries need heavier crude grades to produce diesel and other high-margin products, and can not simply sub in light crude. It is frequently blended with lighter crudes to give refiners higher-value products. Valero and Citgo are among the largest importers of Venezuelan crude. But the rally has slowed on fears of weakening global growth, exacerbated by the U.S.

With a population of around 32 million and a GDP of over $389.4 billion in2017, the inflation-ridden Venezuela's late President, Hugo Chavez, had once announced in 2011 that his nation's oil reserves had surpassed those in possession of the previous long-term world leader, Saudi Arabia.

"The scarcity of heavy oil in the Gulf Coast will increase the price, plus the fact that you have to import from a place like Iraq, makes it a little costlier", Monaldi said.

EIA reported a almost 8M barrel build during last week.

"The big oil companies, the shale producers, will benefit a bit", said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc.

Consumers probably won't feel much pain at the pump.

Venezuela is very reliant on the US for its oil revenue. This would likely send oil lower.

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