Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Trump asks Saudis to up oil output to lower prices

Mr Trump said he received assurances that Saudi Arabia will increase oil production Mr Trump said he received assurances that Saudi Arabia will increase oil production
Elsie Buchanan | 02 July, 2018, 05:13

While analysts say the Kingdom can ramp up its output by 500,000 bpd before the end of the year, an increase of 2 million bpd from Riyadh could cause sudden disruption in global oil market, loss of investment, and distrust towards the Kingdom from fellow cartel members and Russian Federation. The king said he was ready to boost production if needed, the White House said in a statement.

A further 2 million barrel per day increase would put Saudi Arabia's oil output almost at its maximum of 12 million barrels per day, as measured by the International Energy Agency. They did state how much extra supply they would add.

The Trump administration has been counting on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members to supply enough oil to offset the lost Iranian exports and prevent oil prices from rising sharply.

The administration has threatened close allies such as South Korea with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian imports by early November.

This comes barely days after the United States has asked countries to cut all oil imports from Iran by the start of November or else face powerful U.S. sanctions.

A JXTG spokesman would not comment on individual deals but said: "U.S. crude is one of the candidates for replacing Iran oil".

Since May, Trump has put pressure on the Saudis and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase supplies through tweets and other messages. 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.

These three countries have around 2.75 million bpd of spare capacity, accounting for around 85 per cent of the OPEC's total, according to International Energy Agency estimates.

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FGE, an energy consultancy, said in its June newsletter that the United States is determined to "push Iran's exports to zero".

That's highly ironic because Trump had been whingeing about higher oil prices and urging higher production. Iran is a major supplier of oil to countries across the globe including India and China.

Iranian oil production is expected to fall from the fourth quarter of 2018 as USA sanctions take effect.

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

The oil cartel OPEC has already signed off on a one million barrel a day increase.

"Six US presidents before him tried this and had to give up", Mr Khamenei cautioned on his website.

A source familiar with Saudi Arabia's production plans told Reuters earlier in the week of the kingdom's intention to increase output by 200,000 bpd this month. "This was managed between the two to rob the pocket of rest of the world". It is reported to have between 1.5 million and two million barrels a day of spare capacity - but experts told The Wall Street Journal it might not be keen to meet the president's request.

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