Saudi Arabia in short-term oil fix, fears extra USA supply next year

Saudi Arabia in short-term oil fix, fears extra USA supply next year

The kingdom, OPEC's top producer, came under renewed pressure last week from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool oil prices ahead of a meeting in Algiers between a number of OPEC ministers and allies including Russian Federation.

According to Mr. Jaeggi, "We're on the verge of some significant volatility in Q4 2018 because depending on the severity and duration of the Iranian sanctions, the market simply does not have an adequate supply response for a 2 million barrel a day disappearance of oil from the markets".

"If he wants the price of oil not to go up and the market not to get destabilised, he should stop unwarranted and disruptive interference in the Middle East and not be an obstacle to the production and export of Iran's oil".

Brent crude futures settled up 67 cents at US$81.87 a barrel. Brent remains on course for its fifth consecutive quarterly increase, the longest stretch since early 2007 when a six-quarter run led to a record-high price of $147.50 a barrel.

However, the advance in the price that began in January 2016 could extend further on doubts that OPEC can make up for the loss of exports from Iran due to Trump's sanctions on the country.

Front-month Brent crude futures were at $82.17 per barrel at 0133 GMT, up by 83 cents, or 1 percent from their last close, just off Tuesday's four-year highs. "But the "unwillingness" of OPEC and its partners to declare their intention to ramp up production in their effort to replace Iranian barrels all of a sudden produced a very tight supply-demand balance for the fourth quarter of this year", said Tamas Varga, analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

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Commercial crude stocks rose by 1.85 million barrels, to 395.99 million barrels, the EIA data showed. Under U.S. law, the government can sell up to 30 million barrels of oil, or about the amount of petroleum the United States uses in 36 hours, from the reserve over a number of weeks.

Iran's national oil company, National Iranian Oil Company, also subsidises the freight costs for crude oil delivery and offers extended payment terms to buyers.

Also, any big jump in prices this fall ahead of USA elections would likely lead to President Donald Trump authorizing a release from the country's strategic reserves.

To counter the recent falling supply from Iran, OPEC and other oil producers are considering to raise the output of crude oil by 500,000 bpd.

The bank's analysts said in a note Tuesday that "another supply catalyst beyond Iran would likely be needed for prices to meaningfully break to the upside".

However, oil prices rising is nothing new in the face of the global market.

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