Saudi Arabia urges global oil producers to continue cooperation in 2019

Posted January 23, 2018

Gasoline volumes rose by 3.6 million barrels, but stockpiles of distillate fuel oils - used to make diesel and heating oils - fell by 3.9 million barrels, according to new Energy Department data on Thursday.

With earlier expectations of around 160,000 barrels a day from all non-OPEC producers, the report now says we can expect an increase of 1.15 million barrels a day, due to the fact that higher oil prices "are bringing more supply to the market, particularly in North America".

"Relentless growth should see the USA hit historic highs above 10 million barrels a day (in production), overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russian Federation during the course of 2018, provided OPEC and non-OPEC restraints remain in place".

The IEA statement comes a day after oil cartel OPEC released projections revising up non-OPEC crude supply in 2018 by 160,000 bbl/day to 1.15m bbl/day, an increase of 13% on earlier estimates, primarily on the back of higher expectations of United States and Canadian output.

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In just under a decade, the USA has cut oil imports by one-fifth and lowered retail prices for domestic gasoline by 37 percent, according to a report from Reuters. Some did fold or put production on hold but recent highs mean that shale companies are going back online.

OPEC, Russia and several other non-OPEC producers began to cut supply a year ago to get rid of a global glut of crude that had built up since 2014.

OPEC will need to consider its response any U.S. production increase at its next meeting, in June 2018. Yet, the IEA doesn't see a "clear sign yet of OPEC turning up the taps to cool down oil's rally" or "compensate for a precipitous drop in supply from Venezuela".

Said the IEA: "Venezuelan production is now about half the level inherited by president Chavez in 1999 - and in December output was 490,000 bpd a day lower than a year ago, having fallen to 1.61 million bpd". Production of the fuel averaged 9.7 million bpd last week, up from 9.5 million bpd in the week to January 5.

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However, as OPEC continues with its targeted production agreement, the oil has slowly turned from bearish to bullish on Middle East tension and as the market nears rebalancing.

Falih said the global economy had strengthened while supply cuts - in which Saudi Arabia has shouldered by far the largest burden - had shrunk oil inventories around the world. However, Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 20.5 million barrels per day, up by 5.6 percent from the same period of a year ago. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.02 a barrel, down 93 cents, or 1.5 percent, from their last settlement.

The U.S. Energy Department reported that oil reserves fell by 6.86 million barrels last week.

Following EIA's output data, OPEC also stated on Thursday that it expects higher supply from rival producers this year. "Production was steady on a year ago as non-OPEC gains of almost 1 mb/d offset declines in OPEC".

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