Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Oil steadies, but rattled by concern about OPEC's clout

Laurie Berry | 10 May, 2017, 00:40

As per the accord between Russian Federation and other Petroleum Exporting Countries, participants have been called to cut 1.8 million barrels per day from their joint output.

At a press conference later, Petroliam Nasional Bhd president and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the state-owned oil producer is committed to continuing with the agreed production cut, in the event the arrangement is extended.

"The fundamentals haven't improved because the world is still awash with oil", said a Singapore-based crude trader, noting the upsurge in US shale production and exports, especially to Asia, is making it tougher for OPEC to compete.

"I believe the worst is now behind us with multiple leading indicators showing that supply-demand balances are in deficit and the market is moving towards rebalancing", Falih told an audience in Kuala Lumpur. The sharp fall in prices in recent years has impacted breakeven for many oilfield development projects, decimating breakbulk demand. "I expect we (Nigeria) will get OPEC exemption but one year from now will it be renewed? We don't want to create a shortage or squeeze".

However, efforts of OPEC to reduce global oil inventories have been undermined by a surge in United States drilling, which has knocked more than 10 per cent off the price of oil in the last month.

However, many analysts only see an overbundance of talk from OPEC members, as opposed to action regarding stockpiles.

Crude oil will remain under pressure unless OPEC throws a surprise in their next meeting.

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"Also, we should start to see Dakota Access pipeline and other infrastructure improvements liberate more and more U.S. barrels".

What was new was Falih's willingness to contemplate extending the agreement even further, beyond 2017.

"There is consensus building but it's not done yet", Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister said in comments to Reuters. Crude oil prices are stable in the early hours on May 9.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it would "do whatever it takes" to rebalance a market that has been dogged by oversupply for more than two years.

The selling pressure was ignited by fears that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries won't enlarge the size of their agreed production cuts when they meet on May 25, while non-cartel producers like Russian Federation aren't fully on board with continuing the curtailment.

"If OPEC announces a production cut, the surprise leads to an upward adjustment in prices".

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