RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Thursday following three sessions of gains, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell highlighted banking sector credit risks for the world’s largest economy, while US crude stocks rose more than expected.
Brent crude futures had fallen 42 cents, or 0.55 percent, to $76.27 a barrel at 11.00 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 50 cents, or 0.71 percent, to $70.40.
Both crude benchmarks settled on Wednesday at their highest closes since March 14 after the dollar slid to a six-week low.
Powell said on Wednesday that banking industry stress could trigger a credit crunch, with “significant” implications for an economy that US central bank officials projected would slow even more this year than previously thought.
Meanwhile, US crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week to their highest in nearly two years, the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed.
US Crude inventories rose in the week to March 17 by 1.1 million barrels to 481.2 million barrels, the highest since May 2021.
China plans to use renewable energy to help boost gas and oil output
China plans to use renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to provide onsite power for enhanced oil and gas recovery techniques, according to the National Energy Administration.
Gas output could be increased by 3 billion cubic meters through pressure-boosted mining techniques, the NEA said in an action plan for 2023-2025 issued late on Wednesday.
Crude oil production could be lifted by more than 2 million tons through renewable-powered carbon dioxide flooding and thermal recovery techniques, it added.
In addition to enhancing output at existing sites, the NEA proposed increased exploration of both onshore and offshore oil and gas that would also draw on renewable power sources.
The development of renewable-supported oil and gas facilities has particular potential in northern and western parts of the country such as Xinjiang, Gansu and Heilongjiang, it said.
The blueprint for an “integrated development” of renewable and conventional energy resources comes as Beijing increasingly stresses the country’s need for energy security, including a new emphasis on a continuing role for coal.
Despite a massive rollout of renewable power sources — renewables accounted for 76.2 percent of newly installed energy capacity last year — traditional fuel sources form the backbone of the country’s energy supply.
Coal power accounted for 56.2 percent of China’s energy consumption last year, while oil provided 17.9 percent and gas 8.5 percent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NEA also highlighted the importance of demand-side reforms, such as reducing power usage at peak times, as well as increasing energy storage and ‘smart grid’ systems.
Energean sees output of up to 158,000 boed this year
Eastern Mediterranean-focused gas producer Energean on Thursday forecast its 2023 output would reach 131,000-158,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day after the start-up of its flagship Israeli Karish field.
Karish, which uses a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, is set to deliver 4.5-5.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Israel this year, with Energean ramping up capacity to 8 bcm.
It expects its production to reach 200,000 boed by the second half of 2024.
Energean’s previous production stood at around 41,000 boed.
(With input from Reuters)