Oil Price To Reach $100 Soon - Total

Jeannie Matthews
May 18, 2018

Oil prices climbed above $80 a barrel on Thursday for the first time since November 2014, hitting new multi-year highs on concerns that Iranian exports could fall because of renewed US sanctions, reducing supply in an already tightening market. For its part, crude Texas - a benchmark for U.S. - has also experienced growth in recent months.

Crude oil futures continued to rise during mid-morning trade in Asia Friday, after breaching the $80/b mark on Thursday, levels not seen since November 2014. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, June West Texas Intermediate crude CLM8, -0.43% the US benchmark, were up 37 cents, or 0.5%, at $71.86 a barrel, on track to notch another 3½-year peak.

Global inventories of crude and fuel have dropped sharply in recent months owing to robust demand and OPEC-led production cuts.

"OPEC and Russian Federation have been implementing their policies efficiently", Pouyanne added in reference to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' efforts to clamp down on supply.

However, Venezuela's economic crisis, and the prospect of additional US sanctions following its May 20 elections could hit the market further.

A worker walks at the Zubair oilfield in Basra, Iraq May 9, 2018.

While problems with Iran, an economic collapse in Venezuela and supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and Russian Federation have helped drive a rise in oil prices to their highest level in at least four years, one team of analysts sees another issue as serving as key support for oil prices over the next two years.

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The crude oil price forward curve is in firm backwardation, a structure that suggests a tight market as prices for immediate delivery are higher than those for later dispatch.

World oil prices have surged more than 70% over the a year ago as demand has risen sharply while production has been restricted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and other producers, including Russian Federation.

Spot crude oil cargo prices are at their steepest discounts to futures prices in years as sellers are struggling to find buyers for West African, Russian and Kazakh cargoes, while pipeline bottlenecks trap supply in west Texas and Canada.

The two ministers, in a joint statement, blamed volatility in prices on worldwide political tensions.

"With trade skirmishes between the United States and China and all kinds of political issues, I see resistance from Chinese crude buyers to comply" with U.S. sanctions, said Victor Shum, vice president of the Energy group at IHS Markit, on CNBC TV.

"In these early days, there is understandable uncertainty about (the) potential impact on Iran's oil exports" from the United States move, it said.

It trimmed its 2018 world demand growth projection by 40,000 barrels per day to 1.4 million bpd, projecting total consumption at 99.2 million bpd.

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