What to Watch

All Eyes on Saudi Arabia and Russia

 Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some producers outside the cartel are gathering in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this weekend to assess compliance with an agreement to cut crude production.

The deal, which came into effect at the start of last year, helped bolster crude prices by more than 50% in the second half of 2017. The plan has been undergirded by the commitment of Saudi Arabia—the de-facto head of OPEC—and Russia, the largest participant outside the cartel.

Officials from both countries are expected to discuss their intentions for the pact, which is set to expire at the end of 2018. A strong show of support for an extension of the deal could help raise prices further, report The Wall Street Journal’s Summer Said and Benoit Faucon.

Energy News

Oil Extends Gains

Oil prices turned lower Friday after President Donald Trump said high crude prices “will not be accepted.”

 Mr. Trump’s comments, in a tweet, came as ministers from some of the world’s biggest crude producers reaffirmed their commitment to limiting output at a meeting in Saudi Arabia.

Iceland Examines Tech Boom Fueled by Cheap Power

 The endless electricity demand from Iceland’s burgeoning data centers is forcing a reckoning with the island nation’s strong environmental ethos, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Zeke Turner.

“Iceland’s Nordic climate and the geothermal steam rising from the tectonic fault line that runs beneath it provide two things the computers that run the world’s economy need in seemingly endless supply: cooling and electricity,” Mr. Turner writes.

Demand for Oil in Asia Soars

 Asian oil demand is set to hit a record in April, reports Reuters.

Seaborne imports of crude oil by Asia’s main buyers will hit a record this month, with large percentage of that going to China, according to the news agency

Big Number


OPEC said its compliance with a deal to hold back crude output was above 140% of the coordinated cuts last month.


Today: Baker Hughes releases weekly data on the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S.

Today: OPEC and other producers outside the cartel hold a joint ministerial monitoring meeting in Jeddah to assess compliance with the deal to cut crude production.

Reporter’s Notebook

Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Alessi on oil market price drivers. A rising U.S. oil rig count and shale production growth are no longer important factors for oil prices, according to Tamas Varga, an analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates. Despite the Baker Hughes rig count being up compared to a year ago and shale output having risen by almost 1.4 million barrels a day on-the-year, the “impact of these two, once important, indicators has quickly diminished,” Mr. Varga said in a note.

The underlying fundamentals, therefore, don’t seem to justify the price of Brent crude being above $74 a barrel, he argued. “This is not to say that the current $74-plus Brent price is not vindicated by other factors but purely based on global supply and demand data, prices should not be this high,” Varga wrote.