Oil falls but remains set for biggest monthly gain in years

Chinese President Xi Jinping votes on the Hong Kong proposal. (AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

Oil falls but remains set for biggest monthly gain in years

LONDON: Oil prices were dragged sharply lower on Friday by weak US fuel demand, fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases in South Korea and a worsening in US-China relations, but were still on track for a hefty monthly gain.

July Brent crude fell 72 cents, or 2 percent, to $34.57 a barrel by midday in London. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 83 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $32.88.

Still, WTI made a record monthly gain of 75 percent in May, with Brent up by about 37 percent, its strongest monthly rise since March 1999.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WTI on track for record monthly gain
  • Brent has biggest monthly increase since March 1999
  • OPEC+ considers extending output cuts beyond June

“The global reaction to China’s move to propose new security laws for Hong Kong continues to increase, while there’s a score of new COVID-19 cases in South Korea,” said Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugend. 

Thursday’s data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US crude oil and distillate inventories rose sharply last week. 

Fuel demand remained slack even as various states lifted travel restrictions they had imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, analysts said.

Looking ahead, traders will be watching the outcome of talks on output cuts between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, in the second week of June.

Saudi Arabia and some OPEC members are considering extending record production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day beyond June, but have yet to win support from Russia.


Egypt inaugurates $3.4M hyrdocracking complex to produce petroleum products

Updated 27 September 2020

Egypt inaugurates $3.4M hyrdocracking complex to produce petroleum products

CAIRO: A new hydrocracking complex worth $3.4 million was inaugurated on Sunday by the Egyptian president in a ceremony north of Cairo.

The complex will produce 4.7 million tons of high-value petroleum products as part of Egypt’s ambitious program to enhance its refining industry, a local report said. 

It was established in cooperation with the private sector to produce high-octane gasoline and diesel. It converts low-value diesel into high-quality petroleum products, which include hydrocracking units for diesel, charcoal, vacuum distillation, sulphur treatment and naphtha repair, according to a report by Egypt Today news website. 

Work at the site, located in Musturud of Qalyubia governorate, began in 2011 but was halted due to the political turmoil that broke out that year, the Egyptian president said. 

President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi asked Egyptians to realize “the size of benefits from a complex like this for Egypt in the field of petroleum,” in statements quoted by Youm 7 newspaper.