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Oil in Global Economy Series: Key oil market updates

While the oil market continues to focus on supply/demand fundamentals, these are some key updates that you need to keep a tab on,

  • U.S. oil rig count: The production last week was 11.7 million barrels per day, which is a record. Despite fewer rigs operating compared to 2014/15, the production efficiency has pushed the overall production higher.  As of the latest report, the numbers of operating rigs declined to 873, the lowest in a month.
     
  • Venezuela crisis: Crisis continues in Venezuela. According to latest report, inflation has reached an all-time peak of one million percent. OPEC report suggests Venezuela’s production declined to a fresh low of 1.137 million barrels per day in November. A survey by Reuters’ suggests the production declined to a new low of 1.1 million barrels per day in December. 
     
  • Iran: Uncertainty surrounds Iran’s oil exports as the U.S. sanctions have kicked in from 6th November. The United States has promised harshest of punishments to those who violate the sanctions including payment system SWIFT. However, the U.S. has allowed a 180-day waiver for 8 counties, including China, India, and Korea. OPEC surveys suggest that Iran’s oil production is coming down. There are reports that Japan would soon stop buying its crude oil from Iran. The latest report from Reuters suggests that Iran’s production is declining fast. In November, it was 2.85 million barrels per day. Bloomberg survey also showed production below 3 million barrels per day for the first time since the Iran nuclear agreement. Currently, the European Union is working on a mechanism that would help Iran to bypass U.S. sanctions. According to OPEC, Iran’s production was 2.95 million barrels per day in the month of November.  Iran oil supplies will be one of the key determinant of prices going ahead. The U.S. recently extended the 180-day waiver for Iraq by another 90 days. Iran’s production is expected to decline further. The United States would be holding a global summit on the Middle East in Poland in mid-February focusing especially on Iran. Iran recently called on Polish ambassador to Iran to protest against the summit. In addition to that, U.S. sanctions are taking a toll on Iran, as key buyers like India are forced to reduce procurement from the Gulf country.
     
  • OPEC & Russia & Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia led OPEC and Russia led non-OPEC countries reached an agreement last year to reduce global oil supplies by 1.2 million barrels per day beginning 2019. OPEC would bear 0.8 million cuts, while Russian led non-OPEC countries would bear the rest. Three countries have received exemptions from the cut; Libya, Iran, and Venezuela. All countries are likely to reduce 3 percent production. This production cuts would e key in determining prices in future.
     
  • U.S. oil production: U.S. oil production is likely to be one of the most influential factors for oil prices in the years to come. The International Energy Agency (IEA) assessed that the U.S. oil production would near the combined production of Russia and Saudi Arabia by 2025. Despite the recent dip in prices, both U.S. production and operating rigs are stabilizing at current high levels.

Key global oil benchmarks:

WTI - $51/barrel

Brent - $59.9/barrel

OPEC basket - $60/barrel

Urals - $59.8/barrel

Oman - $58.6/barrel

Dubai - $58/barrel

Western Canada Select - $33.5/barrel

 

 

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February 15 21:00 UTC Released

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