Both Brent and WTI have declined sharply despite geopolitical tensions surrounding the Middle East thanks to increasing supplies from OPEC, Russia, and the United States. WTI is currently trading at $51.1 per barrel and Brent at $8.7 per barrel premium to WTI.
Key factors at play in the crude oil market –
- OPEC and non-OPEC members are holding meetings in Vienna at the OPEC headquarter on 6th and 7th to discuss oil production cuts.
- OPEC’s oil output in October rose by 127,000 barrels to 32.9 million barrels per day. This is the sixth consecutive monthly increase. Iran’s production is showing signs of weakness amid sanctions. Output has declined by some 0.5 million barrels since the beginning of sanctions by the United States.
- Platts survey suggests that oil production rose marginally by 40,000 barrels per day in November. Reuters’ survey suggests that the production was down by 160,000 barrels per day in November. Both surveys suggest that Iran’s production has dropped below 3 million barrels per day in November.
- IEA reports that the oil supplies are increasing at rapid pace and production has now crossed well above 100 million barrels per day.
- Saudi Arabia has finally confirmed amid an International outcry that Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Six people are likely to receive death sentences over the killing. In the Latest move, President Trump has announced that Washington stands with America’s long-term partner Saudi Arabia, despite the possibility that the crown prince might have been involved in the murder.
- Trump is pressing Saudi Arabia to increase oil production by almost 2 million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia is likely to comply once the supplies from Iran starts drying up due to sanctions by the U.S.
- Beginning November, the U.S. has re-imposed all the sanctions on Iran and has threatened to counter sanctions on any countries or bodies which violate the sanctions. However, the U.S. has granted a 180-day waiver of sanctions to several big Iranian crude oil importers like China, Korea, and India.
- EU, alongside Iran, Russia, and China have created a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to bypass the U.S. sanctions for companies operating in Iran.
- Venezuela in crisis as oil production declined to 1.17 million barrels per day in October.
- EIA projects U.S. crude production to increase to 12 million barrels per day by end of 2019 and U.S. would become the single largest producer by next five years.
- Current U.S production at 11.7 million barrels per day.
- API reported a major build of 5.36 million barrels of crude oil. Gasoline saw a build of 3.61 million barrels.
Today’s inventory report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be released at 15:30 GMT.