China and India want to buy more U.S. oil to counter Opec

17 June, 2018, 13:35 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • Trump renews attack on OPEC ahead of group's production meeting

The two countries, which together accounted for 17 per cent of world oil consumption a year ago, are working on a block that would challenge Opec's ability to manipulate crude prices in a way that plays havoc with economies of oil importing countries.

The US hasn't asked Opec to bolster supplies, United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei - who this year holds Opec's rotating presidency - told CNN.

Brent and WTI hit 3-1/2-year highs in May but have since drifted lower, indicating investors expect the market to soon become better supplied as US crude production rises and as OPEC and its allies look poised to increase output. The country pumped 11.09 million barrels a day in the first week of June, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, exceeding its agreed limit of 10.95 million.

"You can not place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility", he said, referring to his country and Venezuela. Meanwhile, oil demand in the non-OECD is now projected to grow by 1.27 mb/d, showing a downward revision of 0.02 mb/d from last month's assessment.

Some countries have already increased production, and analysts have said the outlook for the oil market for the rest of 2018 is uncertain as OPEC countries prepare to meet June 22-23 in Vienna to discuss output.

Brent crude futures were last up 6 cents at $76.80 a barrel by 0915 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 12 cents at $66.76 a barrel.

Outages due to the troubles in Nigeria and Venezuela's oil industries more than offset higher output from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Algeria, the survey found, as May production fell 100,000 b/d from the previous month.




Early in the year, with gas prices at service stations still relatively low, Trump suggested raising the country's gasoline tax that customers pay at service stations by 25 cents a gallon to fund road and highway repairs.

But the US request and a Trump tweet in April that blamed OPEC for high oil prices has caused a split within the oil group, with some members accusing Saudi Arabia of being too eager to do Trump's bidding. Saudi Arabia, Iran's rival and the largest producer in OPEC, and Russian Federation, the world's largest producer and a party to the deal, have already increased supply.

Lukman Otunuga, analyst at futures brokerage FXTM, said higher oil production and forecasts of more to come were undermining prices. Prices have risen around 60 percent over the a year ago. Other than the US, India, and China are the largest sources of demand growth in 2018, according to OPEC's monthly report. OPEC has yet to set new production levels beyond that, but the cartel's oil ministers are meeting again next week in Vienna.

It is the second time Trump has directly attacked OPEC over rising oil prices since becoming president, though he has long accused the group of "ripping us off".

Meanwhile, OPEC left its outlook for global oil demand unchanged at 98.85 million barrels per day, up 1.65 million barrels a day from previous year.

Prior to Trump's April tweet, the price of oil had soared from $50 a barrel last fall to over $70.

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