US crude rises 2.2%, settling at $52.61, after OPEC and allies reach deal to cut output

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  • Oil prices jump after OPEC and its allies reach an agreement to slash production for the first six months of 2019.
  • OPEC producers agreed to cut output by 800,000 barrels per day, while allied nations including Russia will reduce production by 400,000 bpd.
  • The combined cut of 1.2 million bpd is in line with expectations and will take effect in January.

Here's the kind of deal OPEC could make

Here’s the kind of deal OPEC could make  

Oil prices surged higher on Friday after OPEC, Russia and several other producers reached an agreement to cut output next year in order to boost the market.

The new agreement comes at a time when the oil market is near the bottom of its worst price plunge since the 2008 financial crisis. Oil prices have dropped more than 30 percent from their highs in early October, hammered by concerns about oversupply, weakness in global markets and technical trading that exacerbated the slide.

OPEC and its allies agreed to throttle back output by 1.2 million bpd during the first six months of 2019.

The production cut is roughly in line with expectations heading into the meeting. Commodity watchers were expected the alliance to remove 1 million to 1.4 million bpd from the market.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, rose $1.61, or 2.7 percent, to $61.67 a barrel. Brent earlier rose more than 5 percent to $63.73.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended Friday’s session up $1.12, or 2.2 percent, at $52.61 per barrel, off a session high of $54.22.

Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie forecasts the production cut will tighten markets by the third quarter of 2019 and cause Brent to rise back above $70 a barrel.

“It would help producers contend with the strength of US supply growth in 2019 when we expect a year-on-year increase of 2.4 million b/d in non-OPEC production as US supply continues to gain sharply,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at Wood Mackenzie.

The United States is pumping at all time highs near 11.7 million bpd, according to preliminary government figures. Last week, the country exported more oil and refined fuels than it imported for the first time in decades.

Meanwhile, Russian production hit a post-Soviet era high at 11.4 million bpd this fall, and Saudi oil production rose to a record 11.1 million bpd in November.

The supply surge from the world’s top three oil producers is as forecasters warn oil demand growth will be softer than anticipated next year.

OPEC members agreed on Friday to cut production by 800,000 bpd, while non-OPEC producers aim to shave 400,000 bpd off the market.

Iranian oil minister confirms 1.2 million barrel oil cut

Iranian oil minister confirms 1.2 million barrel oil cut  

Top exporter Saudis Arabia will deliver the lion’s share of the OPEC cuts. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih on Friday said he expects the kingdom’s output to fall to 10.7 million bpd in December and 10.2 million bpd in January.

Russia’s pledge pencils out to a 228,000-230,000 bpd cut, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. However, Novak warned that Russia would reduce supply gradually due to climate conditions that affect its oil fields in the winter.

OPEC began capping supply in partnership with Russia and several other nations in January 2017 in order to end a punishing downturn in oil prices.

The alliance reversed course and agreed to hike output in June after it removed more barrels from the market than it intended, largely due to the ongoing free fall in Venezuelan output and supply disruptions in Libya.

The Trump administration lobbied for the midyear production increase as it prepared to restore sanctions on Iran, a policy that has pushed up oil prices throughout much of 2018. Trump has sought to blame OPEC for rising oil prices, ordering the cartel to take action to cut the cost of crude several times this year.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that he hoped OPEC would not restrict supply and instead keep oil flowing “as is.”

Oil prices rise on North Sea outage, ahead of OPEC, G20 meetings

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  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Dec. 6 to discuss output policy.

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Andrew Burton | Getty Images

Oil prices rose by one percent on Wednesday ahead of an OPEC meeting next week at which the producer club is expected to decide some form of supply cut to counter an emerging glut.

The shutdown of Britain’s largest North Sea oilfield for repairs also supported prices, traders said.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.11 per barrel at 0448 GMT, up 55 cents, or 1.1 percent from their last settlement.

International Brent crude oil futures were up 57 cents, or 1 percent, at $60.78 per barrel.

The Buzzard oilfield, which pumps about 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) has closed temporarily after the discovery of pipe corrosion. A smaller field linked to Forties, Total’s Elgin-Franklin, is also shut for maintenance. As a result, trade sources said three cargoes due to load in December had been cancelled.

Despite Wednesday’s rise, oil prices have still lost around 30 percent in value since early October, weighed down by an emerging supply overhang and by widespread weakness in financial markets.

The crude oil price slump since October is so far on par with the 2008 price crash and steeper than that of 2014/2015.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Dec. 6 to discuss output policy.

The OPEC-meeting will follow a gathering by the Group of 20 (G-20) nations, which includes the world’s biggest economies, in Argentina this weekend, at which the Sino-American trade dispute as well as oil policy are expected to be discussed.

While most analysts expect some form of supply cut from the OPEC meeting, sentiment in oil markets remains negative.

“Options traders remain focused on downside risks following a 30 percent slide in WTI,” Erik Norland, senior economist at commodities exchange CME Group wrote in a note, referring to the higher number of traders who have placed positions that would profit from a further fall in crude prices than those placing bets on a rising market.

Portfolio managers have slashed their combined net long position in crude futures by a total of 607 million barrels over the last eight weeks, the largest reduction over a comparable period since at least 2013, when the current data series began, exchange data showed.

A concern to global markets is a slowdown in global trade as a result of the Sino-American trade dispute, swelling debt and a strong dollar that puts pressure on emerging markets.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) said in its latest outlook, published on Tuesday, that “trade growth is likely to slow further into the fourth quarter of 2018”, with growth likely at its slowest since Oct. 2016.

Oil prices jump 2 percent after Saudi Arabia announces December supply cut

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  • Oil prices rose by about one percent on Monday after top exporter Saudi Arabia announced a cut in supply for December, seen as a measure to halt a market slump that had seen crude decline by 20 percent since early October.
  • International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were at $71.11 per barrel at 0051 GMT, up 93 cents, or 1.3 percent from their last close.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $60.73 per barrel, up 54 cents, or 0.9 percent from their last settlement.

Oil pumpjacks in silhouette at sunset.

Oil pumpjacks in silhouette at sunset.

Oil prices jumped more than 1.5 percent on Monday after top exporter Saudi Arabia announced a supply cut in December and other producers also considered reductions heading into 2019.

Front-month Brent crude futures, a benchmark for global oil prices, were at $71.59 per barrel at 0749 GMT, up 2 percent from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1.6 percent to $61.15 per barrel.

Saudi Arabia plans to reduce oil supply to world markets by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, its energy minister said on Sunday, as the country faces uncertain prospects in getting other producers to agree to a coordinated output cut.

Khalid al-Falih told reporters that Saudi Aramco’s customer nominations would fall by 500,000 bpd in December versus November due to seasonal lower demand. The cut represents a reduction in global oil supply of about 0.5 percent.

Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

An official from Kuwait, also an OPEC member, on Monday said that major oil exporters over the weekend had “discussed a proposal for some kind of cut in (crude) supply next year”, although the official did not provide any detail.

OPEC’s second-biggest producer Iraq has also indicated it may join in such a move.

Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in Singapore, said OPEC was “focused on mitigating downside risks” after crude prices declined by around 20 percent over a month following a supply surge, particularly from the top three producers, the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

For consumers, the 20 percent oil price fall since early October was a relief.

“This (price fall) is great news for the externally challenged economies of Asia like Indonesia and Philippines, India too, and helps also where inflation has been a concern,” Robert Carnell, chief economist and Head of Research at ING Asia, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Monday.

Major emerging economies like India, Indonesia and Turkey came under strong pressure earlier this year as their currencies slumped against the dollar just as oil prices surged, eroding demand.

Beyond demand concerns, a big concern for Saudi Arabia and other traditional producers from the Middle East-dominated OPEC is the surge in U.S. output.

U.S. energy firms last week added 12 oil rigs in the week to Nov. 9 looking for new reserves, bringing the total count to 886, the highest level since March 2015, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

The rig count indicates U.S. crude output, already at a record 11.6 million bpd, will increase further.

“One thing that is abundantly clear, OPEC is in for a shale shocker as U.S. crude production increased to a record 11.6 million barrels per day and will cross the 12 million threshold next year,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

Oil dips as soaring US production outweighs talk of OPEC output cuts

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  • Oil remains in ample availability despite U.S. sanctions on Iran fuel exports going into effect.
  • U.S. crude output has tripled since 2008, with the Energy Information Administration expecting it to break through 12 million barrels per day by mid-2019.

Oil pumpjacks in the Permian Basin oil field are getting to work as crude oil prices gain.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Oil pumpjacks in the Permian Basin oil field are getting to work as crude oil prices gain.

Oil prices dipped on Thursday as record U.S. crude output heightened concerns of a return of global oversupply, stoking talk from within OPEC that production curbs may become necessary once again to prevent a glut.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $71.93 a barrel at 00301 GMT, down 14 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.68 per barrel, virtually flat from their last settlement.

Benjamin Lu of brokerage Phillip Futures in Singapore said that overall, “Oil prices continue to demonstrate…bearish influences amidst market concerns of rising global inventories… (and as) increasing output levels threaten to upset supply fundamentals in Q4 2018.”

A group of producers around the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as Russia decided last June to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce oil prices and make up for supply losses from Iran.

But with Iran sanctions now in place and oil still in ample availability, OPEC-led production cuts next year cannot be ruled out, two OPEC sources said on Wednesday.

“OPEC and Russia may use cuts to support $70 per barrel,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

“The introduction of U.S. sanctions earlier this week against Iran failed to lift the market given the announcement that eight countries, including three of the world’s biggest importers, would receive waivers to carry on buying Iranian crude for up to six months,” Hansen said.

Concerns over potential oversupply

At the heart of rising global output has been a relentless increase in U.S. crude production, which hit a record 11.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week ending Nov. 2, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.

That’s a threefold increase from the U.S. low reached a decade ago, and a 22.2 percent rise just this year. It makes the United States the world’s biggest producer of crude oil.

More U.S. oil will likely come. The EIA expects output to break through 12 million bpd by mid-2019, thanks largely to a surge in shale oil production.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 2, to 431.79 million barrels, the EIA said.

Crude stocks moved back above their five-year average levels in October.

Production has not just risen in the United States, but also in many other countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Brazil, stoking producer concerns of a return of oversupply that depressed oil prices between 2014 and 2017.

“Producers are concerned about the potential oversupply … after EIA reported that crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

Oil prices rise for first time in three days, but trade war drags 

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  • Oil has been caught in this month’s global financial market slump.
  • The ongoing U.S.-China trade war has continued to weigh on the demand outlook for oil.

Oil prices climbed for the first time in three days on Wednesday, but rising supply and fears over the outlook for demand amid the U.S.-China trade war kept pressure on the market.

Brent crude futures had gained 47 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $76.38 a barrel by 0441 GMT. They fell 1.8 percent on Tuesday, at one point touching their lowest since Aug. 24 at $75.09 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures advanced 16 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $66.34 a barrel on Wednesday. They dropped 1.3 percent the day before, after hitting their weakest since Aug. 17 at $65.33 a barrel.

Both crude benchmarks have fallen about $10 a barrel from four-year highs reached in the first week of October, and are on track to post their worst monthly performance since July 2016.

“Everyone thought we were going to go into the $90s, but now we are heading for the $60s,” said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo, referring to Brent prices.

Oil has been caught in the global financial market slump this month, with equities under pressure from the trade scrap between the world’s two largest economies.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he thinks there will be “a great deal” with China on trade but warned that he has billions of dollars worth of new tariffs ready to go if a deal is not possible.

Trump said he would like to make a deal now but that China was not ready. He did not elaborate.

The United States has already imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China has responded with retaliatory duties on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods.

In a bearish signal, the American Petroleum Institute reported U.S. crude inventories rose 5.7 million barrels last week, more than analyst forecasts for a 4.1 million-barrel build.

Investors will look to official government data on U.S. inventories due on Wednesday.

Oil production from Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia reached 33 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in September, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

That is an increase of 10 million bpd since the start of the decade and means the three producers alone now meet a third of global crude demand.

The United States is set to impose new sanctions on Iranian crude from next week, and exports from the Islamic Republic have already begun to fall.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have said they will pump enough crude to meet demand once the sanctions kick in.

“(After the recent drop in oil prices), this is not the time to back off, if Trump wants to put the screws on Iran,” Nunan said.