Saudi Arabia to cut oil exports in April: Saudi official

12 Mars, 2019, 06:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Khalid al Falih speaks during a news conference in Riyadh

Saudi crude exports to the U.S. market have slowed in past weeks, according to the International Energy Agency, while Asia's crude demand is set to drop in the second quarter due to seasonal refinery maintenance which would limit supply.

Oil markets have been supported this year by ongoing supply cuts by the group called OPEC+, which has pledged to cut 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude supply since the start of the year to tighten markets and prop up prices.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures stood at about $56.39 per barrel at 0323 GMT, up 32 cents, or 0.6 percent from their last close on Friday.

"This will keep production well below 10 million bpd in April", the official said, adding that this was also below the 10.311 million bpd that the kingdom had agreed as its production target under the OPEC-led deal on cutting supplies. U.S. crude shipments are projected to stand at 8.93 million barrels a day in five years - just 0.59 million less that Riyadh, and 0.24 million barrels more than Moscow.

While OPEC members agreed to cut about 800,000 barrels, their non-OPEC allies led by Russian Federation resolved to cut their output by 400,000 barrels, in a bid to strengthen crude oil prices, tighten and stabilize the crude oil market. Goldman Sachs has said oil demand could peak by 2024 under some circumstances.

The group will meet in Vienna on April 17-18, with another gathering scheduled for June 25-26, to discuss supply policy.

A boom in US oil supply due to shale oil has countered efforts by OPEC and its partners led by Russian Federation to restrain supplies.

"We want to see commercial stocks down", the official said on the sidelines of IHS Markit's CERAWeek energy conference.

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The US will rival Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest exporter of oil products within five years as shale output achieves explosive growth, catapulting America into strategic dominance of the global energy system.

State-owned Saudi Aramco's oil allocations for April are 635,000 bpd below customers' nominations, which are the requests made by refiners and clients for Saudi crude, the official said.

Markets were pressured after USA employment data on Friday raised concerns that an economic slowdown in Asia and Europe was spilling into the United States.

Prices were also buoyed by USA energy services firm Baker Hughes' latest weekly report showing the number of rigs drilling for new oil production in the United States fell by nine to 834.

"The second wave of the United States shale revolution is coming", Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement.

"Brent prices have struggled to push firmly above $65/bbl in part because a strong USA dollar remains a major headwind for commodity prices". In 2023, American oil exports will be on course to overtake Russia's by around 0.3 million barrels.

But citing the OPEC+ cuts and low global stocks, the bank predicted prices for Brent would reach $70 a barrel this year.

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