Iraqi oil minister says OPEC deal will help to stabilize oil market

Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban speaks to the media at the ministry's headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq October 31, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 July 2019
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Iraqi oil minister says OPEC deal will help to stabilize oil market

  • Baghdad studies contingency plans to deal with possible disruption, including new export routes

BAGHDAD: An agreement between OPEC and its allies to extend oil output cuts until the end of March 2020 will lower inventories, help stabilise the market and address price volatility, Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Wednesday.
Asked about OPEC’s position on prices, Ghadhban said the general view was that $70 per barrel or higher was acceptable, adding that the producer group sought prices that were fair to consumers and producers alike. Brent oil is currently near $65.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers led by Russia agreed earlier this month to prolong oil output cuts, seeking to prop up the price of crude as the global economy weakens and U.S. production soars.
Iraq hopes navigation in the Strait of Hormuz will remain open and uninterrupted, said Ghadhban, who was speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in Baghdad.
“No fewer than 18 million barrels pass through the strait every day ... the region needs to remain stable,” he said.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that any disruption to oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz would be a “major obstacle” for the economy of Iraq, which has few oil export outlets.
The Iraqi government was studying contingency plans to deal with possible disruption, including alternative routes for oil exports, Abdul Mahdi said.
A vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, the Strait of Hormuz has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.
Recent months have seen a bout of instability in the region, with six tankers attacked since May amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.

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Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.


Oil prices climb as Saudi capacity cushions impact

Updated 20 September 2019

Oil prices climb as Saudi capacity cushions impact

  • Kingdom pledges return to capacity by end of November as Kuwait strengthens security for oil sector

LONDON: Oil prices gained on Thursday, supported by supply risks as the market assesses the fallout from last weekend’s drone attacks on Saudi oil
infrastructure.

Brent crude futures gained $1.78 to $63.80 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was up $1.28 at $58.40 a barrel.

The attacks knocked out around half of Saudi Arabia’s crude production and severely limited the country’s spare capacity, a cushion for oil markets in any unplanned outage.

“Global available spare capacity is extremely low at present following the weekend attacks, leaving little room for additional outages, which tends to be price supportive,” UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

Earlier this week Saudi Arabia set out a timeline for a resumption of full operations, saying it had restored supplies to customers at levels prior to the attacks by drawing from its oil inventories.

HIGHLIGHTS

• US to impose more sanctions on Iran.

• Cushing stocks at lowest since October, 2018.

• Global excess capacity at low level.

The Kingdom said it would restore its lost production by the end of this month, and bring its output capacity back to 12 million barrels per day by the end of November.

“These plans suggest Saudi Arabia will have no spare capacity for at least the next two and a half months,” consultancy Energy Aspects said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, has said the crippling attack on its oil sites was “unquestionably sponsored” by Iran.

US President Donald Trump said there were many options short of war with Iran and added that he had ordered the US Treasury to “substantially increase sanctions” on Tehran. Iran has denied involvement in the strikes.

Iran warned President Trump against being dragged into all-out war in the Middle East.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described the weekend strike as an act of war and has been discussing possible retaliation with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies.

Kuwait’s oil sector has raised its security to the highest level as a precaution, a Kuwaiti official said.

Separately, weekly data from the Energy Information Administration on US oil inventories provided a mixed snapshot.

Stockpiles of crude in the US the world’s largest oil producer, rose by 1.1 million barrels last week against analysts’ expectations for a drop of 2.5 million barrels.

However, stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for benchmark futures, fell to their lowest since October 2018.