US oil set for biggest monthly loss in over a year as floods hit demand

Above, the swelling waters of the Buffalo Bayou threaten the Valero Houston Refinery after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain. (Reuters)
Updated 31 August 2017

US oil set for biggest monthly loss in over a year as floods hit demand

AMSTERDAM: US crude oil prices are on track to post the steepest monthly losses in more than a year on Thursday as concerns spread over falling demand in the world’s top oil-consuming country after storm Harvey knocked out almost a quarter of its refineries.
But prices rallied in the oil products markets, with US gasoline futures RBc1 hitting a two-year high above $2 a gallon, buoyed by fears of a fuel shortage just days ahead of the Labor Day weekend that typically sees a surge in driving.
Harvey, which brought record flooding to the US oil heartland of Texas and killed at least 35 people, has paralyzed at least 4.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity, according to company reports and Reuters estimates.
The country’s biggest fuel transport system, the Colonial Pipeline, also said it would shut its main diesel, jet fuel and gasoline lines because of outages at its supply points.
Traders from Europe to Asia were scrambling to fix fuel cargoes to the US, with price reporting agency Argus registering a record monthly trade volume of European gasoline barges.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs and Stifel said infrastructure outages could last several months, although it was difficult to estimate the exact damage.


Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

Updated 21 November 2019

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

  • Moscow not aiming to be world’s No.1 crude producer, Putin tells annual investment forum

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have “a common goal” of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important — and I want to underline this — predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal. Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the US is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer — this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tons of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate — a side product also known as a “light oil” produced when companies extract natural gas — into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6 percent of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per ton of oil.