Oil Major Total Evacuates Staff From Venezuela After US Sanctions

07 February, 2019, 23:54 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Crude Oil

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 43 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $54.09 a barrel after posting a session low of $52.86 a barrel.

Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry are expected to knock out at least 500,000 bpd of crude exports.

Oil prices fell on Monday after disappointing USA factory data sparked fresh concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, but losses were limited as OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions against Venezuela pointed to tighter supply.

U.S. government data on Wednesday showed that domestic crude inventories rose by less than expected last week even as refineries hiked output. WTI settled 2.73 percent higher in the last session at its highest close since November 19.

The producers known as OPEC+ started cutting production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from last month to avert a new supply glut, and OPEC has delivered nearly three quarters of its pledged cuts already, a Reuters survey showed last week.

The sanctions will limit oil transactions between Venezuela and other countries and are similar to those imposed on Iran past year, some analysts said after examining details announced by the US government.

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Russia has been in full compliance with its pledge to gradually cut its oil production, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on Monday, adding that production fell by 47,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January from October. The sanctions aim to block United States refiners from paying into PDVSA accounts controlled by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela's oil exports fell to a 10-month low in January following new sanctions on the nation's state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA that effectively block Maduro's regime from exporting crude to the U.S.

Market participants are also watching for developments surrounding the U.S.

"Supply fundamentals have increasingly been turning supportive in recent weeks, but against this the market still worries about the yet-to-be-realized - if at all - impact on demand from weaker macroeconomic fundamentals".

"The market is being boosted by optimism over the higher-level trade talks between the United States and China that were completed on January 31".

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a delegation to Beijing next week to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month.

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