Trump urges OPEC to drive down oil prices

Lloyd Doyle
September 21, 2018

WTI prices were up Thursday morning on the news that USA crude oil inventories were down 2.1 million barrels last week, the fifth straight week of declines. "We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!" he tweeted ahead of an OPEC meeting to discuss production on Sunday.

With crude oil prices steadily climbing to $80 a barrel, President Trump on Thursday again slammed OPEC - tweeting that prices keep rising even as the U.S. spends billions to safeguard oil-producing Mideast countries.

Saudi Arabia is anxious that any sanctions-related spike in oil prices will trigger fresh criticism from Trump, but it also faces doubts over its ability to compensate for a drop in Iranian supply, the sources said.

Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore, said Trump's remarks just days before the OPEC meeting put "a focus on the likely supply impacts of USA -led Iran sanctions".

However, oil bulls have reacted positively to news reports this week that Saudi Arabia may be open to Brent climbing above $80 a barrel, despite pressure from Mr. Trump.

"It's also political because the Saudis don't want to pump too much oil then the Iranians complain to OPEC that [Saudi Arabia] is taking [Iran's] market share".

His first attack on OPEC came on April 20, just hours after Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that OPEC would continue its production cuts so that oil prices could rise further.

Two of OPEC's founding members, Iran and Venezuela, are under sanctions from Washington.

The weekend gathering will discuss how to share the previously agreed output increases and examine whether the market needs more oil to offset the loss of Iranian supply as well as a decline in Venezuelan output, the sources said.

Brent has been trading just below $80 a barrel, backed by concerns of supply shortages from looming US sanctions against Iran, which are set to take effect in November.

Fears over supply shortages have boosted crude prices in recent weeks, and worldwide benchmark Brent LCOc1 was trading above $79 a barrel on Thursday.

The US overtook Saudi Arabia for monthly crude oil production back in February and likely surpassed Russian Federation some time in June or August, new data shows.

Industry sources familiar with Saudi oil plans say state energy giant Aramco can raise output quickly to 11 million bpd, but reaching 12 million bpd could take up to six months. It temporarily breached $80 a barrel last week for the first time since May, briefly returning to a more than 3½-year high.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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