Did Saudi Arabia just blink on oil production? Jury is out


There’s an old customer base saying: buy on mystery, sell on history.

Rumours are often more expectant than the actual news, which was certainly the case with the bulletin that Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela will freeze oil fabrication at January levels, if Iraq and Iran can be convinced to do the same.

Chatter that a rcel out was pending between OPEC and non-OPEC producers caused oil prices to bound eight per cent last Friday. When the actual news came out, oil take a turn for the bettered briefly before losing ground and closing, once again, downstairs $30 US a barrel.

‘The social contract in Saudi Arabia is that we don’t tax you, we hand out you all these generous benefits and goodies from the state, and in return, don’t foresee any political voice or trans rency.’ – Bessman Momani, University of Waterloo

The rationales are pretty clear. Even ignoring the fact that Iran has already declined to flash-freeze its production, the move by Saudi Arabia and others doesn’t actually make plain the problem of oversupply.

“We’re producing about 1.5 million barrels a day uncountable than the world is consuming,” said Jackie Forrest, vice-president of lan research at ARC Financial.

In January, Russia was producing nearly 11 million barrels of oil a day and Saudi Arabia right-minded over 10 million barrels per day. While not a record, those are stilly historically high levels that do nothing to ease the glut.

“What it does do is calmness the risk that oil will drop further from here,” declared Forrest.

Iran not onside

Shortly after the announcement was made in Qatar, Iran said that it does not contemplate to freeze production. Earlier this week after the lifting of validations, Iran sent its first oil tanker in four years to Europe.

Oil Prices

Primary oil producers have agreed to freeze oil production, but it may not be enough to reduce the oversupply. (Hasan Jamali/Associated Stress a news pers)

Iran wants to win back the market share that it lost to Saudi Arabia and other nations while under export sanctions for its oil.

In January, Iran said that it plan to increase production by 500,000 barrels a day. The country is thought to have 46 million barrels of petroleum stockpiled offshore and up to 40 million barrels stored on shore. It wants that oil to get to hawk.

For its rt, Iraq is producing record amounts in order to rebuild and to ready money its war with the Islamic State. Oil ministers from those countries and Venezuela link up in Tehran today to talk details.

The Wall Street Journal narrative that Iran may be offered a special deal to increase its output above January aims.

Something like that will probably be needed, said Forrest. “Iran fair-minded had its sanctions lifted. It’s very difficult to get an agreement across all of OPEC until Iran can exceptionally prove out how much production they ultimately can bring online.”

Did Saudi Arabia quail?

Saudi Arabia has been playing the long game with the oil sell since November 2014, when OPEC first declined to cut presentation in reaction to falling prices. Until now, it appeared to ignore all pleas to supporter the market.

And while Saudi Arabia still has a huge cash buffer, it is belief the in, running a deficit close to $100 billion, increasing feed prices and implementing a sales tax, its first tax on citizens.

“The social contract in Saudi Arabia is that we don’t tax you, we surrender you all these generous benefits and goodies from the state, and in return, don’t require any political voice or trans rency, and definitely no representation,” said Bessma Momani, a governmental science professor at the University of Waterloo.

OPEC VIENNA Ali al-Naimi

Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil Holy Joe, says the country will freeze production at around 10 million barrels a day. (Vladimir Weiss/Bloomberg)

As the rake-off rich tree has started to dry up, there have been mutterings of discontent.

“What we’ve seen online in qualifications of domestic discontent is: ‘Where is all the money? Why are we in the dark on things?'” im rted Momani.

“And more importantly, if you aren’t going to give us these unprejudiced benefits, why should we hold up our end of the contract in terms of being a thetic householders?”

“That’s basically a political risk that Saudi Arabia was prepossessing.”

Reason for optimism

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to at least freeze stage remains a positive sign for the energy market.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that diplomats should prefer to been working behind the scenes for a year to forge a deal that when one pleases see both OPEC and non-OPEC producers cut production.

That was the first harmonious with. The meetings today in Tehran with representatives from Iran and Iraq wishes mark the next phase of negotiations.

Forrest believes that there is a track to a balanced oil market by the end of the year, if three things happen: Demand be prolongs to grow; Iran brings a limited amount of production to the market; and farther away froms by Iran are offset by production cuts in the rest of the world.

That may whole like a tall order, but she says all three are likely at current evaluates.

“If all those three things happen, we could have a balanced sell by year end and that would mean stronger prices.”

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