Monday, 18 March, 2019

Saudi Arabia announces higher oil reserves after audit

Saudi Arabia announces rise in oil, gas reserves Brent crude and WTI prices continue strong start to 2019 as Saudi Arabia energy minister Khalid al-Falih cuts exports further
Laurie Berry | 12 January, 2019, 19:12

The kingdom has another 2.9 billion barrels of crude in a border zone shared with neighbouring Kuwait, bringing total oil reserves to 266.1 billion barrels, the ministry said.

The more ephemeral but no less reassuring sentiment that the U.S./China trade talks are reportedly moving towards a resolution also helped support prices, despite earlier analytical thought that crude had made too many consistent gains so far in the New Year and was liable for a correction (Wednesday's trading has now caused oil prices to rise by about 17 percent over an eight-day rally).

Aramco's cost of production is a mere $4 a barrel, he said, giving a rare insight into a key metric not usually disclosed. Oil reserves, which include those of Saudi Aramco's concession, were up 0.8 per cent, while gas reserves increased 5.6 per cent.

"Amid easing trade tension and a weaker US dollar, crude oil prices rallied after Saudi Arabia reassured the market that its production cuts would remain in place", ANZ bank said yesterday.

Despite this, US bank Morgan Stanley cut its 2019 oil price forecasts by more than 10 per cent on Wednesday, pointing to "weakening economic growth expectations" and rising oil supply from outside OPEC as reasons for their lower price forecast.

The oil behemoth has so far largely avoided bond markets, relying nearly exclusively on its own cash or bank loans.

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Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced that it would cut back oil exports in January by 10% compared to November, as prices continue to fall.

On Wednesday, the company released its first audit of reserves since 1980, showing why "Aramco is the world's most valuable company and indeed the world's most important", according to Al-Falih.

Saudi Arabia, the world´s top oil exporter, is the third biggest crude producer after the United States and Russian Federation.

Industry experts say it can cost between $30 to $50 to produce a barrel of US shale oil.

The revisions come after an independent audit by consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton.

But the kingdom has posted budget shortfalls each year since a major 2014 crash in crude prices, and has turned to borrowing as well as pursuing economic reforms.

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