RIYADH: Oil prices went down to a four-week low on Friday on worries that interest rate hikes by major central banks could slow the economy and cut global energy demands.
On Friday, Brent futures fell 5.6 percent to settle at $113.12 a barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate crude fell 6.8 percent to settle at $109.56.
Russia says cutting oil production would have risks
The idea of cutting oil production in Russia to further increase prices has risks and would require calculation, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov told Reuters on Friday.
While Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told RBC business channel on Thursday that Russia had no need to cut its oil output in response to the EU’s embargo.
Novak earlier said he expected Russia’s annual oil production for 2022 would be about 500 million tons, down from 524 million tons last year.
Sovcomflot fleet fully covered by Russian insurers: CEO
Russia's state-run Sovcomflot has insured all its cargo ships with Russian insurers and the cover meets international rules, its CEO said, after Western insurers withdrew cover.
Western insurers halted insurance cover for Russia’s biggest shipping group when Sovcomflot was hit by sanctions after Moscow sent troops across the border into Ukraine.
Sources told Reuters this month that state-controlled Russian National Reinsurance Company had become the main reinsurer of Russian ships, including Sovcomflot’s fleet.
“Technically, we meet all international trade requirements,” CEO Igor Tonkovidov told reporters. “Currently, the company’s fleet is almost fully busy in shipping hydrocarbons, cargoes are delivered to different parts of the world.”
Sovcomflot is a key shipper of Russian oil and liquefied natural gas cargoes globally.
Western insurance sources have said the Russian replacement cover would likely be enough to keep Russian vessels sailing around the world.
Fire at Sinopec Shanghai Petchem plant kills one
A fire killed one person at a Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. plant in Shanghai on Saturday, an accident that will not significantly affect the market, the company said.
A roaring fire was seen engulfing part of a sprawling factory, emitting columns of thick black smoke, in a video posted on Twitter by the state-backed Shanghai Daily.
The fire at one of China’s biggest refining and petrochemicals plants started around 4 a.m. (2000 GMT on Friday) and had been brought under control by 9 a.m. but “was difficult to handle,” state media Xinhua reported, citing fire officials.
Video posted online by Xinhua from mid-morning showed a much smaller fire but with black smoke still billowing out of the facility.
The driver of a third-party transport vehicle died and a company employee suffered a minor injury, said a Sinopec representative.
He said the fire affected the ethylene glycol facility at the plant in Jinshan, a southwestern suburb of China’s financial capital.
Shanghai Petrochemical said on its official Weibo account it will cooperate with a government investigation into the accident. The shutdown will not have a significant impact on the market, it said.
(With input from Reuters)