Global oil prices see highest levels of 2019
Global oil prices reached their highest levels of 2019 on Tuesday, fueled by shortages from Venezuela, Iran and OPEC+ as well as drops in US shale production.
US SHALE INDUSTRY SLOWDOWN
International benchmark Brent crude increased to $69.76 on Tuesday, while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) saw prices of $62. The US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are hitting their oil output levels. Iran's productions are estimated to drop to 2.65 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, from 3.85 million bpd in 2018, the International Energy Agency said in its latest oil report for 2019.
Venezuela's oil output is also forecast to decrease to 750,000 bpd this year, from 1.31 million bpd last year, according to the report. The US also closed eight oil rigs in the week ending March 29 dropping its rig count to 816, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Friday. The drop in oil rigs marks the first time the rig count declined over six consecutive weeks since May 2016.
A slowdown in the US shale industry is also driving oil prices up. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed a 90,000 bpd drop in shale production between December and January. Output cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers, also known as OPEC+, are also pushing oil prices higher.
In December, OPEC and some non-OPEC countries decided to lower their collective output by 1.2 million bpd for the first half of 2019. OPEC and some non-OPEC countries will meet on June 25, during which a decision will be taken on the production target for the second half of 2019.