Oil falls below $43 a barrel on coronavirus fears

A resurgence of coronavirus cases worldwide has brought down oil prices to below $43 a barrel on Friday amid concern that fuel demand growth could stall. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 04 July 2020

Oil falls below $43 a barrel on coronavirus fears

  • Brent has more than doubled from a 21-year low below $16 reached in April

LONDON: Oil fell below $43 a barrel on Friday as a resurgence of coronavirus cases raised concern that fuel demand growth could stall, although crude was still headed for a weekly gain on lower supply and wider signs of economic recovery.

The US reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a new daily global record for the pandemic. The rise in cases suggested US jobs growth, which jumped in June, could suffer a setback.

“If this trend continues, oil demand in the region is at risk,” said Louise Dickson of Rystad Energy.

Brent crude was down 56 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $42.58 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 58 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $40.07.

“The fragile US economic rebound is at risk of being undone by the latest surge in new infections,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Signs of economic recovery, and a drop in supply after a record supply cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, have helped Brent more than double from a 21-year low below $16 reached in April.

Boosting recovery hopes, a private survey showed on Friday that China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June.

OPEC oil production fell to its lowest in decades in June and Russian production has dropped to near its OPEC+ target.

The bankruptcy filing of US shale pioneer Chesapeake Energy also supported prices by raising expectations production will decline, JBC Energy said in a report.

Gasoline demand will be closely watched as the US heads into the July 4 holiday weekend. 


Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.