Crude oil slips as Saudi, Venezuela meeting yields little

Crude oil prices eased in thin trade on Monday as a meeting between OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and Venezuela showed little indication that steps would be taken to boost prices.

Global benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 were down 8 cents at $34.98 at 4.32 a.m. ET. They fell 40 cents to $34.06 a barrel on Friday.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell by 23 cents to $30.66, after falling 83 cents to $30.89 on Friday.

Both contracts firmed slightly earlier in the session on Monday in see-saw trade on low volumes as many Asian markets were on holiday for the Lunar New Year.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi discussed cooperation between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers to stabilize the global oil market with his Venezuelan counterpart on Sunday, but there was no sign any agreement had been reached to hold an early meeting of suppliers.

“It was a successful meeting and (conducted) in a positive atmosphere,” Saudi news agency SPA cited Naimi as saying.

Venezuela’s Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino, who is on a tour of oil producers to lobby for action to prop up prices, said his meeting with Naimi was “productive”.

“The picture is neither clear nor harmonious,” PVM Oil Associates analyst David Hufton said in a note on Monday.

“The market is likely to remain highly volatile and dangerous. Unless there is some pretty bullish news in the next few days the contracts are likely to erode value and head south,” Hufton warned.

In a sign Tehran is determined to claw back lost market share after the lifting of sanctions, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted by the ministry’s news agency SHANA on Saturday as saying that France’s Total (TOTF.PA) had agreed to buy 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude for delivery in Europe.

Zanganeh added that Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI) was interested in buying 100,000 bpd and Italian refiner Saras (SRS.MI) was interested in buying 60,000-70,000 bpd.

The market is eyeing U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to lawmakers on Wednesday along with U.S. crude inventory data from the Energy Information Administration on the same day.

“We are on hold, waiting for that with a nervous tone,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

The International Energy Agency and OPEC are also due to release their monthly reports on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.


One thought on “Crude oil slips as Saudi, Venezuela meeting yields little

  • March 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Reading into that OPEC report some, eisacpelly pp 31-39, they really blur the difference between crude oil, natural gas condensates, other fossil fuel-derived liquids, and even biofuels such as ethanol, which I saw mentioned at least once in that section.I guess, from their point of view, it really is all the same, but it is somewhat bothersome to have ethanol, for example, incorporated into those numbers because such fuels are much more expensive and have a much different suitability and sustainability. To me, they are masking a problem by combining all liquid fuels together. Maybe that’s their intent, or maybe I’m just a Peak Oil worry wart and there really isn’t a problem (ha!)One wonders just how long all the other increased liquid fuel production can make up for the crude oil production stagnation and at what price per barrel?


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