OPEC Wednesday announced that oil pumping in Venezuela in November reached 697.000 bpd. But one country's increase in production may not have a positive impact in the near future in view of OPEC's decision to curb output in an attempt to keep inventories at a level that holds profit margins attractive.
The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, a move to choke off Tehran's oil revenues which sent crude prices to six-month highs on fears of a potential supply crunch.
Oil prices surged in early trading on Monday after the United States and China agreed on a truce in their trade conflict and ahead of a meeting by producer club OPEC this week that is expected to result in a supply cut.
They call it production adjustments, but in reality most major oil extracting countries agreed Sunday new strategies regarding crude output were needed in light of the surplus accrued over the past few months.
Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, continuing a recent slide after surging U.S. crude output hit another record and domestic inventories rose more than expected. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said domestic crude inventories rose 5.8 million barrels in the latest week, more than double analysts’ expectations.
Brent crude breached US$ 81 a barrel on Monday — its highest level in nearly four years — on the back of a tightening oil market and OPEC leaders signaling they won't be immediately boosting output. Global benchmark Brent crude rose as high as US$ 81.39 a barrel, its strongest level since Nov. 21, 2014.
Oil settled lower on Tuesday after rising to the highest since July 2015 the previous day, while tension flared between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the Saudi crown prince tightened his grip on power.
Ecuador will not honor the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) agreement to cut oil output, Ecuador’s Oil Minister Carlos Perez said this week. The country, one of OPEC’s 14 member countries, is rethinking its commitment to drop oil production to 522,000 barrels a day.
The rally in oil prices over the past two weeks came to a halt on news that OPEC is actually exporting more oil than previously thought. A month ago, oil prices appeared to be higher than they should have been, with weak demand, elevated inventories, and a recognition that the nine-month OPEC extension would be inadequate to balance the market.
As oil prices remain unsteady and OPEC continues to make headlines every hour, the world is focused on oil's immediate future. As Saudi Arabia announces plans to slash production and move their economy away from oil dependency, many industry insiders are predicting that the now over-saturated market will reach an equilibrium with higher commodity prices by 2018 and U.S. shale production will continue to grow along with global demand.