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US Crude Oil Flowing Strong

16 September 2018

United States sanctions on Iran's energy industry, which come into force in November, have already cut supply back to two-year lows, while falling Venezuelan output and unplanned outages elsewhere will also keep the balance between supply and demand tight, the IEA said.

The storm is expected to make landfall on the U.S. East Coast on Friday.

Crude oil also surpassed hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) to become the largest US petroleum export product, with 1.8 million b/d of exports during the same period.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday following a report of declines in USA crude inventories and as looming sanctions against Iran raised expectations of tightening supply, while top producer Russian Federation warned of a fragile global crude market.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained $1.95, or 2.9 percent, to $69.49 a barrel.

Since spring when the Trump Administration said it would impose sanctions on Iran, crude traders have priced in a risk premium reflecting the supply shortages that may occur when exports from the third-largest OPEC member are cut. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 15 cents higher at $67.69, CNBC reported.

"They (South Koreans and Japanese refiners) need to find replacements for their drop in Iran imports and a fair amount of that is coming from the States".

Iran was exporting 2.7 million barrels of oil per day in May, but that has already fallen to 2.1 million.

Iran faces a potentially crushing loss of oil exports when U.S. sanctions return in November, but the impact could be blunted by its experience of working around embargoes.

"While we aren't explicitly forecasting Brent to rise to $100 a barrel, we see real risks of this happening".

However, if the forecast is to be believed, demand growth is less than stellar: OPEC revised its world oil demand growth forecasts lower for this year and next, with world oil demand expected to grow by this year by 1.62 million barrels per day, a minor downward revision from last month's projection, due to slower than expected performance in Latin America and the Middle East.

S&P global Platts said OPEC, in a report, indicated demand for the organization's own crude oil in September will be nearly 1 million bpd more than the level produced in August.

A spokesman for Japan's biggest refiner JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp (5020.T) said his firm had not received government orders to halt Iranian oil imports.

Over the past weeks, Iran's oil product exports have also started to take a hit, according to Platts data and sources. Iranian oil exports should go from about 2.7 million bpd-2.8 million bpd from earlier this year to about 1 million bpd-1.2 million bpd by the end of this year, Sen told CNBC earlier this month. Oil production has been hit by attacks on oil facilities and blockades, though past year it partially recovered to about 1-million bpd.

U.S. crude stocks C-STK-T-EIA fell 5.3 million barrels in the week to September 7 to 396.2 million barrels, the lowest since February 2015 and about 3 percent below the five-year average for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

US Crude Oil Flowing Strong