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Oil Plunges On Fears Of Weak Demand

Oil prices fell another 4%…

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Three Takeaways From OPEC's Latest Report

As it has become a trend in recent months, OPEC revised up again on Thursday its estimate for non-OPEC supply growth in 2018, but it also lifted its forecast for global oil demand growth, while it reported the cartel’s lowest crude oil production in a year in March.

At the same day that OPEC published its MOMR, its Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo told Reuters in an interview that he sees the oil market achieving balance in the second to third quarter this year, earlier than previously expected—at the end of 2018.

“There is growing confidence that the declaration of cooperation will be extended beyond 2018,” Barkindo told Reuters.

“Russia will continue to play a leading role,” he said, adding that OPEC and partners will discuss an initial draft of a longer-term cooperation framework at their meeting in June.

In its closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report, OPEC revised up its expectation for non-OPEC supply this year by 80,000 bpd from the previous month’s assessment, on the back of higher-than-expected production in the first quarter, mostly in the United States and in the former Soviet Union. Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by 1.71 million bpd year-on-year in 2018, compared with 900,000-bpd growth in 2017.

Non-OPEC supply is “now expected to grow at a faster pace”, OPEC said, noting that the key driver is the U.S. with expected increase of 1.5 million bpd, followed by a distant second Canada with 290,000 bpd and Brazil with 210,000 bpd growth. Related: The Oil Eating Bacteria That Can Clean Up Crude Spills

In terms of demand, OPEC revised higher its forecast for world oil demand growth by 30,000 bpd compared to last month’s assessment. The cartel now expects global demand growth at 1.63 million bpd this year.

“This mainly reflects the positive momentum in the OECD in the 1Q18 on the back of better-than-expected data, and supported by development in industrial activities, colder than-anticipated weather and strong mining activities in the OECD Americas and the OECD Asia Pacific,” OPEC said in its report, which is more upbeat about demand growth than the March MOMR.

Total oil consumption this year is seen at 98.70 million bpd with total world oil demand breaking a historical threshold of 100 million bpd in Q4, OPEC said today.

The OECD commercial oil stocks—whose five-year average OPEC is officially targeting in the production cut deal—were 43 million barrels above the latest five-year average, according to preliminary data for February. Crude stocks indicated a surplus of 55 million barrels, while product stocks were in a deficit of 12 million barrels below the five-year average, OPEC estimates.

OPEC’s crude oil production for March dropped by 201,400 bpd compared to February, to average 31.96 million bpd, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. This was the cartel’s lowest production in one year, as Venezuela’s output continued to plummet (down 55,300 bpd over February); Saudi Arabia cut 46,900 bpd from its February level; and Angola and Libya also registered big declines. The UAE, on the other hand, boosted production by 44,900 bpd from February, secondary sources data showed.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • John Brown on April 12 2018 said:
    Well at least OPEC is starting to get real. They've been way behind the curve, in predicting increased production out of the USA and elsewhere, and with Saudi Arabia idling more production to push the price toward the $80 it supposedly wants for its IPO of Aramco the price will remain, artificially high, and production in the USA and else where will continue to soar. If I were thinking of putting money into Aramco I'd think about where the price of oil goes after the IPO as production continues to soar in the USA and other countries not artificially restricting output. What happens if the Venezuelan people get tired of starving and not having any toilet paper, do a Mussolini with Maduro, and invite in foreign oil companies to restore their oil industry? Even if prices are higher Aramco won't be that great an investment if it has to keep idling more production as U.S. and non-OPEC production soars, renewables continue to gain ground, and OPEC/RUSSIA have to keep lowering production with most of OPEC telling the Saudis to pick up most of it. What happens if higher oil prices in the $80 range if OPEC get its way slow down economic growth, or we have a an actual recession? Oil just isn't a scarce resource any longer, and OPEC/Russia may benefit from pushing the price up to $80 short term, but they only make their problem bigger medium and long term with every $1 they push the price up.
  • Steve on April 12 2018 said:
    I thought OPEC production quotas were around 32.5 to 32.7 MMBOPD. OPEC has historically always cheated on quotas and now we are seeing them 500,000 BOPD to 700,000 BOPD below quotas. Granted, Venezuela, Libya, and Angola have seen big declines, but I also believe we are also seeing declines in Saudi and other OPEC fields due to lack of investment in the past 3-4 years. Saudi didn't cut another 46,000 BOPD from their February levels, its fields are declining. This really makes you wonder if OPEC has any excess capacity to cut that was previously claimed to be over 1 MMBOPD.

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