OPEC PUSHES RUSSIA TO CONTINUE HELPING ON OIL PRICES
Saudi Arabia and OPEC are lobbying Russia to stay on board with their efforts to raise oil prices, amid signals that Moscow wants to end its participation, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Benoit Faucon and Summer Said.
The efforts culminate Thursday with a meeting between Saudi King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the first-ever visit by a Saudi monarch to Moscow.
“According to people familiar with the matter, the king will ask Mr. Putin to remain for longer than planned in a coalition led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that has withheld almost 2% of global oil supply from the market in 2017,” reports the Journal.
The high-level meetings underscore how Russia—the world’s largest oil producer, but not an OPEC member—is playing a pivotal role in the cartel’s efforts to rebalance the oil market and prop up sagging crude prices.
Russia was instrumental in sealing a deal that saw OPEC’s 14 producers join with 10 non-OPEC producers to cut a combined 1.8 million barrels a day through March 2018.
“OPEC estimates that the global oil glut has been reduced and prices have risen by 13% since OPEC first agreed on a cut. However, prices haven’t hit $60 a barrel, which most participants want,” reports the Journal.
U.S. NOW EXPORTING AS MUCH OIL AS SOME GULF COUNTRIES
U.S. crude exports are soaring, approaching a level that is almost as much as Kuwait sends abroad, writes Alison Sider.
“U.S. crude exports surged to a record 1.984 million barrels a day last week– an increase of close to 500,000 barrels a day from the previous week’s level, which was also a record. The export rate is more than twice as high as it was a month ago,” reports the Journal.
Kuwait ships more than 2 million barrels of oil abroad per day. The U.S. is still an oil importer. But net imports of crude fell to a record low last week.
“The primary reason for the rapid increase is that U.S. crude is cheap. Last month West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell to as much as $6.80 below Brent, the global benchmark,” the Journal reports.
Oil prices stabilized Thursday, having erased last week’s gains, with rising production and exports from the U.S. knocking investor confidence over how quickly supply cuts elsewhere could reduce the global glut.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.8% to $56.25 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.3% at $50.15 a barrel.