Oil Prices Go Up

Jermaine Castillo
April 15, 2019

Libya, which is also exempt from the deal, pumped 1.098 million bpd in March, up 196,000 bpd from the previous month, but output remains at risk as the country is on the brink of a possible civil war.

However, global oil markets remain firm, amid Opec+ supply cuts, US sanctions on oil exporters Venezuela and Iran and increased fighting in Opec member Libya.

The production curbs aim to drain oversupply from the oil market and boost prices.

Venezuelan crude production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) because of US sanctions.

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OPEC revised demand growth down in 2019 to 1.21 million bpd due to "slower-than-expected economic activity".

The group forecasts USA crude production to rise by 1.46 million bpd in 2019 to 12.42 million bpd. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures ended the session up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $63.89 a barrel.

OPEC and its allies will meet in June to decide whether to continue withholding supply, and while OPEC's de-facto leader, Saudi Arabia, is seen to be keen to continue cutting, sources with the group said it may raise output from July if disruptions elsewhere continue.

On Thursday, the 11th of April 2019, both U.S. and United Kingdom crude fell more than one percent after sources had revealed that the OPEC, a 14-nation pact of petroleum exporting nations, had been giving a second thought over their production cut policy until the end of 2019.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's remarks this week that Moscow was against "uncontrollable oil price increases" was also a red flag to Jakob.

The International Energy Agency on Thursday reported an even lower figure for Venezuela's March output and said the country's production is likely to fall further this month. He described oil market conditions at present as a "forecasting nightmare".

"We tend to focus on Trump's reaction to gasoline prices, but the Russian government is also continuously anxious about the street discontent factor that comes with rising gasoline prices", Jakob said.

"An increase is on the table, yes, if prices went to $80 and higher", this OPEC source said.

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