Oil prices reach highest since November, 2014 on Venezuela, Iran worries

Oil prices reach highest since November, 2014 on Venezuela, Iran worries

Oil prices reach highest since November, 2014 on Venezuela, Iran worries

Oil prices have surged by double digits since early February, as President Trump has indicated the US might withdraw from the global pact with Iran, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

"It seems that the bureaucratic wheels are turning in Washington to prepare for a sanctions snapback", RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft said in a note, adding that "the extraterritorial nature of USA sanctions, which cover energy, shipbuilding, finance, trade, insurance, etc., means that.Iran's oil exports could credibly be curtailed by 200,000-300,000 bpd".

In April, the biggest decrease in supply came from Venezuela, where the oil industry is starved of funds because of economic crisis.

Brent crude oil futures rose as high as $75.67 per barrel, reaching a three-year high, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures reached the level of $70.56 per barrel, according to media reports.

"I think you have to get $4 to $5 per gallon before you start having a psychological impact", said Joseph Amaturo, who covers the automotive industry for Buckingham Research. Global demand for oil has been stronger than expected due to the growing world economy.

Oil futures in NY were on the verge of passing $70 a barrel for the first time since November 2014 as traders braced for a re-imposition of USA sanctions on Iran.

Interestingly, China receives most of its imports from OPEC-producing members. The increases came despite nine USA oil rigs bringing the total count to 834, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in a news release. Natural gas is under pressure as US production surges.

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But Adam Rozencwajg of G&R suggests that shale-drilling productivity might be peaking.

Noticeably, a lot of this growth came from the transport sector with a surge in larger vehicle purchases as SUV and light trucks represented almost two-thirds of total USA sales in 2017 up from 47 per cent in 2011, according to IEA data. "Many believe they will see strong growth from Bakken and Eagle Ford as well, but that's not the case", Rozencwajg told Barron's. And this doesn't account for the potential supply impact from US shale producers that for some odd reason are no longer considered a threat to OPEC and other non-U.S. producers.

It is also unclear whether Saudi Arabia will act to make up for the loss of Iranian oil supply.

Oil prices haven't traded above $70 a barrel since late 2014, about the same time that the United States had gasoline selling above $3 a barrel on average.

On Monday, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said he is concerned about low oil industry investment and potential shortages in the future.But U.S. output has soared by more than a quarter in the last two years, to 10.62 million bpd. "Instead, they are using free cash flow to return capital to shareholders via increased buybacks and dividends".

US gasoline and product prices will also rise. "Investors haven't had much interest in oil-related equities, but we think the time has come now".

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