Saudi Arabia oil exports fall as trade fears keep prices in check

OPEC and its allies have agreed to limit output to support oil prices. (Reuters)
Updated 18 April 2019

Saudi Arabia oil exports fall as trade fears keep prices in check

  • The world’s top oil exporter shipped 6.977 million bpd in February, down from 7.254 million bpd in January
  • Prices have been supported this year by an agreement reached by the OPEC and its allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd)

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February from the month before, official data showed on Thursday.
The world’s top oil exporter shipped 6.977 million bpd in February, down from 7.254 million bpd in January, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).
The Kingdom pumped 10.136 million bpd in February, down from 10.243 million bpd in January.
Saudi crude inventories rose to 204.567 million barrels in February from 200.834 million in January, the JODI data showed.
Refineries in the Kingdom processed 2.767 million bpd in February, up from 2.758 million bpd in January, according to JODI.
Prices have been supported this year by an agreement reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd).
Global supply has been tightened further by US sanctions on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran.
Iran’s crude exports have dropped in April to their lowest daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources said, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected further pressure from Washington.
Indian refiners are turning to other OPEC members, Mexico and the US to make up for any loss of Iranian oil.
Spain’s Repsol has suspended its swaps of refined products for crude with Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, people familiar with the matter said, as US officials weigh penalties for foreign firms doing business with Venezuela.
Growing US oil production and concerns over the US-China trade dispute are keeping prices in check.
US crude oil output from seven major shale formations
was expected to rise by about 80,000 bpd in May to a record 8.46 million bpd, the EIA said in its monthly report on Monday. Surging US production has filled some of the gap in supplies, although not all of the lost production can be immediately replaced by US shale oil due to refinery configurations.
Saudi exports of refined oil products in February fell to 1.461 million bpd, from 1.616 million bpd the month before, the data showed.
The OPEC heavyweight used 259,000 bpd of crude oil to generate power in February, down from 377,000 bpd the month before, while Saudi demand for oil products in February was 2.157 million bpd, up slightly from 2.073 million bpd in January.
Monthly export figures are provided by Riyadh and other members of OPEC to JODI, which publishes them on its website.


Oil up on slowing pace of coronavirus, Venezuela sanctions

Updated 20 February 2020

Oil up on slowing pace of coronavirus, Venezuela sanctions

  • Financial analysts say epidemic is likely to deal a ‘short-term blow’ to global economy

LONDON: Benchmark Brent oil prices rose for a seventh consecutive day after demand worries eased with a slowing of new coronavirus cases in China and supply was curtailed by a US move to cut more Venezuelan crude from the market.

Brent was up 71 cents at $58.46 a barrel at 1510 GMT. The global benchmark has risen nearly 10 percent since falling last week to its lowest this year. US oil was up 53 cents at $52.58 a barrel.

“Those in doubt of the economic impact from the virus should take heed from Apple’s surprise sales warning ... Put simply, this is the surest sign yet of the coronavirus fallout on the global economy,” said PVM analysts in a note.

S&P Global Ratings said it expected coronavirus would deliver a “short-term blow” to economic growth in China in the first quarter, echoing findings by the International Energy Agency.

Official data showed new cases in China fell for a second straight day, although the World Health Organization said there was not enough data to know if the epidemic was being contained.

The oil market price structure is also showing signs that prompt demand for oil is picking up, as the front-month Brent futures market is moving deeper into backwardation, when near-term prices are higher than later-dated prices.

This week, oil prices were also buoyed by a US decision to blacklist a trading subsidiary of Russia’s Rosneft, which President Donald Trump’s administration said provided a financial lifeline to Venezuela’s government.

Hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers would deepen supply cuts also supported prices.

The grouping, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and meets next month to decide a response to the downturn in demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.

But in the US, which is not party to any supply cut agreements, oil production has been rising. US shale production is expected to rise to a record 9.2 million barrels a day next month, the Energy Information Administration said.