Saudi Arabia’s king pledges to raise crude oil output if needed

Jul 02, 2018, 05:09
Saudi Arabia’s king pledges to raise crude oil output if needed

Amid reports Saudi Arabia's oil output for June is at near-record levels, President Trump tweeted Saturday that Saudi King Salman "agreed" in a phone conversation to increase oil production to roll back oil prices.

"However, there are only a few oil exporters who agreed on production cuts in early 2017 with significant spare capacity to increase output".

Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said "it is not unusual" for the White House to put pressure on OPEC members to increase oil output "mainly because the USA president is first and foremost concerned about the cost of gasoline and consumer fuels, especially in an election year" - the U.S. will hold midterm congressional polls in November.

Oil-producing Gulf countries will be the main beneficiaries of a recent decision by OPEC members to hike crude production by one million barrels per day, analysts said.

The curbs were meant to help drain a global oil glut, a goal that has largely been achieved, though supply disruptions are now adding pressure to prices. Trump past year chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip.

The statement from Saudi Arabia added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need 'to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies.' It did not elaborate. He questioned whether Trump's words would do anything to reverse the effects on the market of declining Iranian oil production. The International Energy Agency, the Paris-based group that represents consumer countries, recently estimated what it called "short order supply" from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, at 1.14 million barrels a day.

Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was trading around $79 a barrel on Friday, and a Reuters poll showed prices look to remain strong for the rest of this year due to supply disruptions in countries including Libya and Venezuela and as the extra oil from OPEC fails to meet rising demand.

"If we take 2 million barrels of oil off the market, what is going to be left in the tank?"

"We will be in uncharted territory". North America's oil markets have tightened significantly this week as an outage of Canada's Syncrude has locked in over 300,000 bpd of production.

On June 26, a senior State Department official said the United States wants to stop all exports of Iranian oil from November and is unlikely to offer any exemptions as it did during previous sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused the United States of trying to turn Iranians against their government.

Saudi Arabia has the capacity to pump a maximum of 12.04 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency.

"Six US presidents before him tried this and had to give up", Mr Khamenei cautioned on his website. "This was managed between the two to rob the pocket of rest of the world", he said. Venezuela's production has fallen to 1.4 million barrels a day, about a million barrels a day less than it produced two years ago.

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