• Oil keeps its gains near its highest level in 3 years


    *«Al Eqtisadiah» from Riyadh


    Oil prices maintained their gains over the past two days at the end of last week. It was supported by geopolitical concerns and as the market ignored an increase in US stocks.

    Brent crude futures rose 27 cents, or 0.15 percent, to reach $ 74.90 a barrel. While, the WTI rose 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, to reach $ 68.20 per barrel. They stay near their highest level in three and a half years.

    It seems that prices will continue to be supported by a strong possibility of renewing sanctions on Iran, which reduces supplies and then prices push up.

    It is especially after French President, Emmanuel Macron, predicted that the United States would withdraw from the Iranian agreement.


    Trump will decide by May 12 whether to impose sanctions on Tehran, which could result in a drop in its oil exports.

    The sudden rise in US crude stocks was not enough to reduce prices that remained unbroken. It has continued its gains since Wednesday to remain within sight of its highest level in more than three years recorded in the previous session, which was supported by geopolitical tensions, and escalated concern over the production of Venezuela.

    The US Energy Information Administration reported that US crude oil inventories in the United States rose last week as refineries reduced production, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate stocks fell.

    Crude inventories rose 2.2 million barrels in the week ending April 20, while two million barrels were expected to fall.

    Data showed that crude oil inventories at the delivery center in Cushing, Oklahoma increased by 459 thousand barrels.

    It noted that the consumption of refineries of crude has decreased by 328 thousand barrels per day with a decline in operating rates of 1.6 percentage points.

    Gasoline inventories rose 840,000 barrels, while analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast 625,000-barrel drop.

    Distillate stocks, including diesel and heating oil, fell 2.6 million barrels, while it was expected to drop 861 thousand barrels.

     The net and imports of the US crude fell last week by 43 thousand barrels per day to 6.14 million barrels per day.

    Prices have also been boosted by the decline in production of Venezuela, OPEC's biggest producer in Latin America.

    Venezuela's crude output fell from around 2.5 million bpd in early 2016 to about 1.5 million bpd due to political and economic unrest.

    The US oil giant Chevron has evacuated Venezuelan executives after two of its employees were jailed in a contractual dispute with state-owned oil company PDVSA.


    Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast crude oil prices to reach $ 80 a barrel in the second quarter of this year.

     It is justified by the occurrence of some of the bottlenecks strong in the field of American production of Permian.

    It pointed out that these bottlenecks would slow the pace of growth in the US rock production in general.

    Some analysts also speculated that oil prices would break $ 80 a barrel in the second half of this year, due to the geopolitical risks that are rising further to market fundamentals.

    On the other hand, a copy of the tentative schedule showed that ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other countries producing from outside intend to meet in Vienna on June 23, after a day of talks by the ministers of the Organization only.

    According to the schedule, a technical committee monitoring the OPEC oil production reduction agreement and independent producers led by Russia will meet on June 19.

    According to a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the ministerial committee to monitor the reduction of production cost the OPEC secretariat in Vienna to examine different standards of compliance with an in-depth analysis in order to address the effects and implications of the broad uncertainty in the market.

    The report noted that producers since the joint declaration in 2016 are making a concerted effort to accelerate the stability of the global oil market through voluntary adjustments in total production by about 1.8 million barrels per day.

    It noted that the agreement has been extended twice each of nine months and an amendment to the Declaration of Cooperation to be valid throughout the entire 2018.

    The report pointed out that the producing countries participating in the agreement to reduce the production of crude oil again showed time and again a firm commitment to achieve a rebalancing to the global oil market. This has been largely demonstrated by the recent high level of compliance.​

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