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Saudi Arabia Escalates The Oil Price War

Market Movers

- Saudi Arabia has booked multiple VLCCs to ship its crude oil, including to the US Gulf Coast, despite having its own fleet of VLCCs. While China is still struggling under the weight of COVID-19 and its oil refineries are scaling back their runs, Saudi Arabia is planning to increase shipments to that region of the world, and its lowered OSP is will be attractive for China - even if they don’t need it right now. The bookings for the VLCCs are just preliminary and can still be canceled, but even just a show of force at this point may be enough to move oil prices even lower on one hand, and shipping rates up on the other.

- Russian oil companies were supposed to meet with the Russian energy ministry this week to discuss the possibility of once again resuming its cooperation with OPEC. Instead, discussions sidelined OPEC, with giant Gazprom Neft saying that it was getting ready to increase production in April. A return to OPEC was not even an option. Russian oil companies have been vocal opponents of the deal for years, and are unlikely to break out their pom-poms in support of further production cuts, in what would, in their opinion, simply take cheaper Saudi and Russia barrels off the market and open the door for more expensive US shale. Saudi Arabia, however, is breathing down Russia’s neck and is now flooding Russia’s European customers with super cheap Arab Light in a bid to woo them away from Urals blend.

- The United States…





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