OPEC revises down slightly oil demand growth forecast 2019

Crude Oil

"Disruptions have increased with risks that Venezuela's production decline accelerates following the introduction of additional USA sanctions related to the Venezuelan oil industry", the investment bank said.

The U.S. administration reimposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic's oil exports in November in a bid to ramp up pressure against Tehran's nuclear program, but extended waivers to eight major buyers of Iranian crude, a lot of them in Asia.

But while Venezuela's crude now accounts for a very limited share of the global oil market, it plays a much more important role in the niche market for heavy crude.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading higher on Wednesday, supported by deeper-than-expected OPEC-led production cuts and the impact of U.S. -led sanctions on Venezuela oil exports.

The global oil market will struggle this year to absorb fast-growing crude supply from outside OPEC, even with the group's production cuts and USA sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Wednesday.

US crude oil inventories rose last week to the highest since November 2017 as refiners cut runs to the lowest since October 2017, the Energy Information Administration said.

"Reports are emerging that PDVSA is scrambling to secure new markets for its crude, after the United States placed additional sanctions on the country", ANZ bank said on Monday.

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"Our primary objective is to ensure that the oil market remains in balance throughout 2019 and beyond in order to build on the success of the past couple of years", the OPEC Secretary General said.

The U.S. administration likely calculated any fallout from sanctions on oil prices would be small given the limited volumes of crude involved and the expectation that the standoff would be resolved quickly.

"The imposition of sanctions by the United States against Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) is another reminder of the huge importance for oil of political events", the IEA said.

Iranian heavy oil price increased $1.45 in January, according to OPEC's latest monthly report published on Tuesday.

It also slightly downgraded its forecast for growth in global demand in 2019 from 1.29 million barrels per day to 1.24 million.

OPEC and its non-member allies headed by Russian Federation agreed late-2018 to decrease production by 1.2 mb/d during first half of 2019 to push oil prices high.

Previous pacts by OPEC and its partners including Russian Federation, often called OPEC+, to cut back production have been marked by initial low compliance rates by certain countries. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news.

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