Brent crude hits 2019-high amid OPEC supply cuts

Venezuela's oil production has fallen from approximately 2.4 million bpd in 2015 to around 1.2m bpd as of the latest figures in February

Continued supply reductions would further support oil prices, which are up about 25 percent this year at $68 a barrel, and incur the wrath of US President Donald Trump, who has demanded OPEC ease its efforts to bolster the market.

The WTI Crude Oil market broke higher during the week, clearing the little bit of resistance that we have been involved with for the last several weeks.

The U.S. bank said January global crude oil demand growth was "nearly 2.0 million barrels per day, with strength visible in both emerging markets and developed economies".

A recent EIA forecast also showed that the United States would become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products on a monthly basis in 2019 and on an annual basis in 2020.

The International Energy Agency yesterday reported that Opec's February crude production fell to a four-year low.

Oil prices rose yesterday, driven by OPEC's current production restrictions and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

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"Oil markets are reacting to the possibility the cuts will be extended", Naohiro Niimura, a partner at Market Risk Advisory, said by phone.

An unexpected dip in USA crude oil inventories and production also lifted prices, traders said. We will observe the economic-political consequences of the USA cornering Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela in the global oil game. "Market management by producers is likely to remain necessary for some time, given the outlook for the call on Opec crude", the report said.

The IEA added that, due to the cuts, OPEC members were sitting on approximately 2.8 million bpd of effective spare production capacity, with de-facto leader Saudi Arabia holding two-thirds of it. According to the IEA's report, this means for OPEC that not only it has lost its once biggest customer, but also that, with the rise of shale oil in the US, it will continue to lose its power in the global energy market until the mid-2020s.

With production in Canada also increasing, and most of its exports moving to USA refineries, more United States crude should be available for export. With increasing competition, the global demand for OPEC production will not return to pre-2016 levels during the period in question.

The Bloomberg story, citing unnamed sources, curbed a price rally fueled by production curbs by OPEC and its partners along with USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that have tightened global supplies this year. The IEA report indicates that USA energy growth will continue to meet 70 percent of the increase in global production capacity by 2024.

However the IEA also noted that Venezuela's current oil production of about 1.2 million barrels per day (mbd) is the size of production cuts agreed by members of the OPEC oil cartel and a number of other nations led by Russian Federation, a grouping often called OPEC+. Production in Iran and Libya, also exempt, was little changed.

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