Oil hits 2019 highs amid OPEC-led supply cuts, US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela

US crude oil stockpiles last week fell by nearly 10 million barrels, the most since July, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 21 March 2019

Oil hits 2019 highs amid OPEC-led supply cuts, US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela

  • The losses came amid worries over global economic growth after the US Federal Reserve highlighted signs of a slowing economy

SINGAPORE: Oil prices reached their highest so far for 2019 on Thursday as global markets tightened amid supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and US government sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

International Brent crude oil futures hit a November 2018 high of $68.64 per barrel around at 0453 GMT on Thursday, up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures also equaled a November 2018 high of $60.27 per barrel on Thursday.

Crude prices have been pushed up by almost a third since the start of 2019 by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as by sanctions enacted against Iran and Venezuela by the United States.

OPEC’s crude oil output has slumped from a mid-2018 peak of 32.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to 30.7 million bpd in February.

The US sanctions are also disrupting supply.

“Venezuelan exports to the US have finally dried up, after the sanctions were placed on them by the US administration earlier this year,” ANZ bank said on Thursday.

Iranian oil exports have also slumped. The United States aims to cut Iran’s crude exports by about 20 percent to below 1 million bpd from May by requiring importing countries to reduce purchases to avoid US sanctions.

The OPEC cuts and sanctions have also tightened supply within the United States.

US crude oil stockpiles last week fell by nearly 10 million barrels, the most since July, boosted by strong export and refining demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Stockpiles fell 9.6 million barrels, to 439.5 million barrels, their lowest since January.


Iran’s Petropars developing South Pars gas field after withdrawal of foreign companies

Updated 25 January 2020

Iran’s Petropars developing South Pars gas field after withdrawal of foreign companies

DUBAI: Iran’s Petropars will develop phase 11 of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, after the withdrawal of French oil major Total and the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Iran’s oil minister was quoted as saying on Saturday.
“Now with the exit of the other two companies from the contract, Petropars has completely taken their place and the development of the first unit of phase 11 of South Pars has been given to this company,” Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by ICANA, the Iranian parliament’s news site.
The offshore field, which Iran calls South Pars and Qatar calls North Field, is shared between Iran and Qatar.