Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

OPEC+ set to ignore Trump and cut crude oil production

Oil prices skid amid global stock market slump, swelling US supply Trump asks OPEC not to cut production
Kelvin Reese | 07 December, 2018, 03:19

The remarks came just a day prior to OPEC's meeting in Vienna, piling pressure on the Saudi-led cartel, Russian Federation and other non-member nations over potential global oil policy-making. Crude prices have been falling since October because major producers _ including the United States _ are pumping oil at high rates and due to fears that weaker economic growth could dampen energy demand.

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.

Opec does still matter, but it is far from being fully in charge of the global oil market.

During Thursday's meeting, OPEC leaders are expected to discuss how to stabilize crude oil production after US prices plunged by 22-percent in November - making it the worst month since the financial crisis in 2008.

That is not to say the decision by Opec and partners was the only factor.

Negotiations between OPEC members are fraught, however, as some feel that Saudi Arabia wields too much clout in setting policy. It has wanted an exemption.

That has put OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in a delicate position - Riyadh is keen not to incur Trump's wrath as relations between the two countries become increasingly complicated in the wake of the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We don't need permission from anyone to cut", said Falih on Thursday. "I think that's the fair and equitable solution".

OPEC members are meeting in Vienna to discuss ways to raise worldwide oil prices.

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Oil prices slipped 4% to below $60 last night as Khalid al-Falih's comments, reported by Bloomberg, placed question marks over a deal.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude fell $1.77, or 2.9 percent, at $59.79 a barrel by 2:22 p.m. ET, after falling to a session low at $58.36.

The fall in the price of oil will help many consumers as well as energy-hungry businesses, particularly at a time when global growth is slowing.

The price of crude has fallen nearly a third since October but Trump has demanded OPEC make oil even cheaper by refraining from output cuts.

Yesterday, the US President tweeted: "Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".

"The shale revolution has transformed oil wildcatters into billionaires and the US into the world's largest petroleum producer, surpassing Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia", adds the article. But just like the U.S. is pursuing its own interests, one can not expect Saudi to do anything different - even despite the controversy surrounding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul at the Saudi embassy. Some experts say that gives the US some leverage over the Saudis, though Al-Falih denied that on Thursday.

American oil producers do not co-operate with Opec to manage prices, because that would be illegal under United States anti-trust or competition law. How strongly it does so could depend on Russia's contribution, which will be determined in a meeting on Friday. OPEC members are all mentioning that production cuts will be at 1 million bpd and the market isn't liking it. Price has now dipped by more than 3% on the day to $51.15 and is looking to head towards threatening the $50 handle in due time.

Zanganeh said the estimated surplus now on the market amounted to 1.3-2.4 million barrels per day. Yet, its capital expenditure plans for 2019 may be derailed by $50 oil-a reality few had conceived of just two months ago, when the market was spooked by Iranian oil supply plunging to zero, or at least to much lower than the now some 1.2 million bpd still being exported out of Iran.

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