WTI Oil Putting Up A Respectable Fight on OPEC

Oil pumps are seen in Lake Maracaibo in Lagunillas Ciudad Ojeda in the state of Zulia Venezuela

Oil rises ahead of OPEC, pressured by China tariffs

Following a year and a half of voluntary supply cuts led by the Middle East-dominated Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), as well as the non-Opec producer Russian Federation, oil markets have tightened, pushing up prices.

Yet any output increase agreement could be muted because other OPEC members including Iraq said last week that production cuts should be maintained because prices still need support. On the other side, less privileged OPEC members like Iran, Venezuela, Iraq, Angola, Libya and Nigeria whose production levels have been under pressure by different geopolitical and economic factors like USA sanctions and budget deficit need the prices to stay at current levels. "This recalls the June 2011 meeting, when OPEC was unable to agree on an increase in production to compensate for the outages.in Libya", Fritsch said. "If the two want to act alone, that's a breach of the cooperation agreement", Iran's OPEC representative Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said. The rise in Oil price is due to the production cut in past few years by OPEC.

In the run-up to meetings of Opec and its allies in Vienna this week, several nations have floated plans for production increases, but no consensus has emerged for what is likely to be a fractious meeting. There is speculation that OPEC might undo a deal struck early a year ago to limit crude production.

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"There is an element of self-preservation in seeking to do this, as while most oil producers prefer higher prices they will also want to avoid a scenario where prices reach a level where demand drops off sharply, thus triggering a global slowdown, as well as accelerating the push for renewable (energy)", he said. These numbers suggest that United States and handful of other non-OPEC countries will more than meet global demand. Earlier in April, he had slammed the OPEC for keeping the prices "artificially very high".

"In any case, prices will decline when OPEC decides to produce more oil, but we will not go back to $40 per barrel". Shortly after, since the USA shale production wasn't able to offset the production cuts that OPEC and non-OPEC nations made, oil prices rose significantly through 2017 up to 2018 and that made the Trump administration anxious about the effect of higher prices on Trump's political stance. The IEA predicted that Venezuela's oil output could fall to just 8,00,000 b/d or even lower next year, from 1.36 million b/d in May and following a 1 million b/d fall over the last two years.

Non-OPEC members including Russia, Oman and Mexico also agreed to cut 558,000 bpd off their production to stabilise the market.

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"It's really a double whammy for Iran", Smith says, "from the perspective that because sanctions are being placed on them, they're not going to be able to export as much, because they probably won't be able to send crude into Europe".

China on Friday said it would retaliate by slapping duties on American export products, including crude oil. Brent crude jumped $1.55 to $74.99 a barrel. We expect prices to be in broad range of $63 and $66 on the WTI, with heightened volatility ahead of the event.

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