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Main » Oil prices rise on OPEC output cuts, as US sanctions bite

Oil prices rise on OPEC output cuts, as US sanctions bite

14 February 2019

Oil prices rose on Thursday, buoyed by hopes that potential progress in the latest Sino-U.S. tariff talks would improve the global economic outlook, and as China's trade figures including crude imports beat forecasts.

International Brent crude oil futures were up 37 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $63.98 a barrel.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday as producer club Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it had cut supply deeply in January and as USA sanctions hit Venezuela's oil exports. Since January 1, an OPEC-led group has been cutting at least 1.2 million barrels per day from production in an effort to trim the global supply and stabilize prices.

Venezuela was once a major oil exporter to the United States, but shipments have fallen from 1.4 million bpd in 1998 to around 500,000 bpd in 2018 ("Petroleum supply monthly", EIA, Jan 2019).

In January, Falih said Saudi Arabia went beyond its commitment to lower both the production and exports of oil over the last couple of months.

Oil descended into a bear market in November, a swift drop from four-year highs seen in October, as traders grew anxious over strengthening U.S. production and an outlook for softer global fuel demand.

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But the country's oil industry has been in relative and absolute decline for the last 50 years as problems of producing and marketing its heavy crudes have been compounded by an unattractive investment regime and mismanagement.

OPEC cut output by nearly 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81m bpd.

"Oil production is rapidly falling and companies that normally resell Venezuelan crude have not found ways to mitigate the effect of the U.S. sanctions", Barclays bank said. OPEC's share of that cut is 800,000 bpd.

Venezuela's diminished importance in the global oil market and as a supplier to the United States has emboldened the US administration to take a tough approach in attempting to oust the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Oil climbed for a second day as dwindling shipments from two of the world's biggest crude exporters eclipsed another big jump in USA supplies. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

USA crude oil inventories rose last week to the highest since November 2017 as refiners cut runs to the lowest since October 2017, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Oil prices rise on OPEC output cuts, as US sanctions bite