| 28 September 2022, Wednesday |

Oil heads for seventh weekly gain amid tight supply and depleting inventories

Oil prices are likely to rise for the seventh week in a row, extending gains on Friday amid depleted stockpiles, geopolitical concerns, and a cold weather in the United States that threatens to disrupt energy supply in a tight market.

Brent, the global oil benchmark, was up 1.1 percent to $92.11 a barrel at 1.19pm UAE time on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for US crude, was up 1.19 percent to $91.43 per barrel.

WTI is on track for a weekly rise of more than 4%. Brent has risen almost 17% so far this year and is already trading above its seven-year high of $91.70 per barrel, set last week. Crude has surged by more than 67 percent in the last year.

“After an arctic blast found its way to Texas and hampered some oil production in the Permian Basin,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

“The oil market is oversaturated and susceptible to any shock.”

Even though thousands of flights are canceled, the energy market is “fixated on output rather than short-term demand shocks,” according to Mr Moya.

Rising oil costs, which are fueling inflation fears, are expected to set off “alarm bells” among developing market oil importers, particularly poorer ones who are also vulnerable to rising food prices, according to Hasnain Malik, head of equities analysis at Tellimer Research.

Crude has been high in recent weeks, despite mounting geopolitical concerns in Eastern Europe. The US approved the deployment of 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe on Wednesday, in addition to the 8,500 troops it placed on high alert after Russia stationed thousands of military forces near Ukraine’s border.

Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, increased its soldier presence over the weekend, indicating a potential escalation that may disrupt global energy supply.

Oil prices have risen as the United States’ oil stockpiles have depleted. According to the Energy Information Administration, inventories in the world’s largest economy fell by a million barrels in the week ending January 28 compared to the previous week.

Opec and its allies said on Wednesday that they will increase crude supply to 400,000 barrels per day in March, citing stronger demand as the global economy continues to recover from the epidemic.

Over the last few months, the group has remained committed to bringing additional barrels to the market. However, its capacity to reach its enhanced output objectives has been called into question.

According to a Bank of America analysis, the ability of some Opec member countries to swiftly boost output is dwindling.

Total investment in the oil and gas upstream industry declined 23% below pre-coronavirus levels to $341 billion in 2021, according to a report released last year by the International Energy Forum.

“It appears that $100 [per barrel] oil is not far in the future, and this will be followed by increasing pressure from global leaders for Opec+ to produce additional output,” Mr Moya added.

While the oil market should be able to fulfill demand in the short term, the considerable drop in expenditure and “lack of desire of some producers to invest” leaves the oil market “exposed in the longer run,” according to a note issued by Japanese lender MUFG on Friday.

“The sheer dizzying of the oil price strength since the turn of the year is forcing us to fast forward our long structural supply-side thesis,” said Ehsan Khoman, the bank’s head of emerging markets research.

According to the Tokyo-based lender, crude prices would increase to $105 per barrel in the fourth quarter of this year and $115 per barrel in the first quarter of 2023. Prices are expected to peak around $120 per barrel in the second quarter of next year, with averages of $95.5 per barrel this year and $111.9 per barrel next year.

  • The National News