Oil falls as Trump pressures OPEC

Gazprom Neft plans to increase or at least maintain hydrocarbon production at 100 million tons per year after 2020. (Reuters)
Updated 29 March 2019
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Oil falls as Trump pressures OPEC

  • US President Donald Trump called for OPEC to boost crude production to lower the price of the commodity
  • Donald Trump: Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of Oil getting too high. Thank you!

LONDON: Oil fell on Thursday after US President Donald Trump called for OPEC to boost crude production to lower the price of the commodity.
International Brent crude oil futures slid 26 cents to about $67.57, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down about 24 cents to $59.17.
“Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of Oil getting too high. Thank you!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.
Brent crude has risen more than 25 percent this year on the back of moves by OPEC and allies like Russia to cut output, as well as plummeting Venezuelan production. On top of US sanctions, power cuts have crippled Venezuela’s oil industry.
The country’s main oil export port of Jose and four crude upgraders, needed to convert Venezuela’s heavy oil into exportable grades, have been halted since Monday, industry sources said.
US sanctions have also hit Iranian crude exports.
Analysts said that they expected the US in early May to extend some sanction waivers on Iranian oil, but might reduce the number of countries receiving them.
The 180-day exemptions were granted in November to China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.
“Enjoy it whilst it lasts. The upcoming six months will bring relatively healthy demand for OPEC oil,” PVM’s Tamas Varga said in a note.
“If the unplanned supply cuts remain in place ... oil prices should edge toward $75/bbl ... in coming months as global inventories will draw.”
Data from the US Energy Information Administration showing a surprise rise in US crude inventories last week also weighed on prices on Thursday.
Oil stocks rose 2.8 million barrels, the report showed, compared with analysts’ expectations for a drop of 1.2 million barrels. Demand concerns on the back of economic jitters linked to the US-Chinese trade war have further capped prices.
In a fresh development, China made unprecedented proposals on a range of issues, including forced technology transfer, as the two sides work to end their protracted dispute
Separately, Russia’s Gazprom Neft does not expect the global deal to cut oil output will last long and does not take it into account in its long-term planning, CEO Alexander Dyukov said on Thursday.
Russia and other non-OPEC producers — an alliance known as OPEC+ — agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1 for six months.
Gazprom Neft plans to increase or at least maintain hydrocarbon production at 100 million tons per year after 2020, Dyukov said.
“We set the task of being better than the market and growing faster than the market,” he added.
Gazprom Neft is the oil arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.