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Oil Soars 5% As OPEC Output Holds Steady, Saudi Arabia Extends Voluntary Cuts

Crude oil futures are soaring on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, OPEC+, agreed to keep production steady. Saudi Arabia also confirmed that it would continue to voluntarily slash output, allowing Russia and Kazakhstan to ramp up production. Is it to the moon for energy prices?

April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures surged $3.10, or 5.06%, to $64.38 per barrel at 17:40 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude prices have enjoyed a dramatic turnaround this week, rallying from below $50 to target $65.

Brent, the international benchmark for crude prices, topped $67 for the first time in more than a year. May Brent crude advanced $3.02, or 4.73%, to $67.10 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Brent has enjoyed a similar performance, paring all of its losses from late last week.

On Thursday, OPEC and its oil-producing allies announced that they approved a “continuation of the production levels of March for the month of April.” This would enable Russia and Kazakhstan to boost output by 130,000 and 20,000 per day, respectively.

Riyadh stated that it would extend its voluntary production cut of one million barrels per day (bpd) through next month. The original move had been scheduled to expire at the end of March.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman referred to the decision as “cautious”:

We’re not fast, we’re not furious — we’re cautious. Our voluntary cut came through our own will, bringing it back will also be decided by our own will.

This has financial analysts ultra-bullish on oil prices over the coming months since the global supply glut is expected to diminish significantly. Some industry observers believe that OPEC and the Saudis will likely extend the production arrangement into May. Amrita Sen, the chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told CNBC:

I understand that it is not just April that they are talking about. (Saudi Arabia is) essentially saying to everybody: ‘Look, it is April and May.’ Just like they did in January when they discussed Feb. and March output

In the middle of the trading week, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that domestic crude stockpiles increased by 21.6 million barrels in the week ending February 26.

Oil stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage facility jumped by 500,000 barrels. Distillate supplies fell by 9.7 million barrels, while gasoline inventories dropped 13.6 million barrels.

In other energy commodities, April natural gas futures tumbled $0.06, or 2.11%, to $2.789 per million British thermal units (btu). April gasoline futures surged $0.0466, or 2.39%, to $1.9984 a gallon. April heating oil futures soared $0.0603, or 3.28%, to $1.896 per gallon.

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Published under: Oil

Via Commodity News

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