For the first time this year, global benchmark Brent hit a record of $72 per barrel on Wednesday, palpably reinvigorating crude market sentiment around the globe. Even though China’s Q1 economic growth of 6.4 percent and a further 3.2 percent year-on-year refinery throughput hike certainly did help crude prices – as well as an expected US commercial crude inventory drawdown – the market’s largest issue to resolve is the overall scarcity of heavy and sour crudes. If heavy supply remains at the current level in the foreseeable future, this pricing anomaly – Urals trading at $0.7-1 per barrel premiums against Dated, Basrah Light discounts narrowing to reaching all-time highs - will persist for even longer.
Thus, oil prices have risen more than 40 percent this year already, with Brent Dated sliding a bit from the $72 per barrel peak within the $71.7-71.9 per barrel interval, whilst WTI oscillated in the $64-64.3 per barrel territory.
1. White House Cracking Down on Spanish Repsol
- The Trump Administration has been scrutinizing the links between Spanish oil major Repsol and Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, in a bid to guarantee full compliance with US sanctions.
- US State Department special representative on Venezuela Elliott Abrams stated that bilateral discussions are ongoing between the countries on how to settle the issue.
- The end is already near it seems as Repsol has so far brought its April…