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OPEC Sets Oil Market Up For A Bullish Spring

Russia and Saudi Arabia made waves in the oil market this week and not for the reasons we expected. The two parties- who were scheduled to meet in April to discuss prolonging their current supply cut agreement- decided to postpone their special gathering and wait until OPEC’s previously scheduled meeting in June to decide the future of their deal.

The move was widely interpreted as revealing a fissure in the Saudi/Russia relationship which is the heart of the current OPEC+ deal. Concern that the existing deal could eventually break down is built on the reality that the two countries have entirely different budgetary needs for oil prices to keep their houses in order. According to Bloomberg, Russia needs $40 oil to meet to run a balanced budget this year while the Saudis need $95/bbl. Over time, differing needs could strain the relationship and lead to the end of the current OPEC+ agreement. We don’t view this as a high risk in 2019, however, and ultimately expect the group to continue sharp supply cuts through the end of the year

We know that OPEC+ production cuts achieved 89% compliance in February displaying strong group discipline. These cuts will continue to eat into global inventories and reveal themselves in weekly DOE data which shows US stocks drawing despite massive gains in US production. Planned supply cuts and lost barrels due to geopolitical stress in Iran, Venezuela and Nigeria will shift price risk slightly higher in the near term. For…




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