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Oil Prices Slide Despite Falling OPEC Exports

OPEC

Saudi Arabia stuck to its promise to further cut crude oil exports in August to 6.6 million bpd, bringing OPEC’s total for the month to 25.897 million barrels daily, energy data provider Kpler reported. All but five of OPEC’s members cut their daily shipments abroad. The notable exceptions were Algeria, Angola, Iran, Kuwait, and Nigeria. For Iran and Nigeria, August marked the highest daily export rate year-to-date.

Despite the decline in OPEC crude oil exports, oil prices continue to falter, with WTI losing 6 percent over the month of August.

Iran led the increase with an additional 182,000 bpd versus July, to a total 2.698 million bpd exported in August. Kuwait upped its outbound shipments by 157,000 bpd to 2.135 million bpd. Algeria exported 147,000 bpd more in August than in July, at 668,000 bpd, and Angola exported 103,000 bpd more, at 1.763 million bpd. Nigeria increased its August exports by 102,000 bpd to 2.06 million bpd.

Saudi Arabia led the cutters’ camp, exporting 494,000 fewer barrels per day in August than in July, followed by Qatar, which reduced its foreign crude oil shipments by 208,000 bpd from July, to 732,000 bpd in August.

Libyan exports also fell, by 64,000 bpd to 813,000 bpd, but Kpler noted that this decline will probably be reversed soon as it was a result of lower loadings from Zawiya –the port which receives crude from the country’s largest field, Sharara. Production at Sharara was suspended for quite a while last month. Yet, other terminals, namely Es Sider and Zueitina, loaded and will be loading more crude going forward, and these loadings will offset the declines in Zawiya.

While the latest sign that Saudi Arabia is indeed committed to doing whatever it takes to help the oil market rebalance should be a positive one for market participants, prices continue to be depressed. They are still far from the US$55 per barrel from last December despite a recent Reuters survey that suggested compliance among OPEC members had risen to 89 percent and that also estimated OPEC crude oil output had fallen by 170,000 bpd in August. The precariousness of OPEC’s position was highlighted by the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which apparently provided enough of a counterweight to the positive potential of these figures.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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