OPEC Oil Production Slides As Venezuela Output Tumbles

OPEC's April monthly report was released this morning and unveiled more of the same: expectations of rising global demand (which will soon be dented as global growth fizzles, impacting the need for commodities, especially in China and EMs), coupled with declining production by OPEC producers (really Venezuela whose oil output is collapsing as the insolvent, hyperinflating state grinds to a halt), even as shale producers continue to win market share from OPEC, but really mostly Saudi Arabia.

We start at the top, where OPEC optimism once again dominated, as the cartel sees a tighter market with rising demand even as its own output drops largely thanks to one nation:

  • 2018 world oil demand estimate raised by 60k b/d, to 98.70m b/d, revised higher by 1.63mmbpd
  • 2018 world oil demand y/y growth little changed at 1.63m b/d, or 1.7%

At the same time, March non-OPEC supply was seen 380kbpd higher M/M, with total non-OPEC supply averaging 66.2mln bpd. Most of this was Shale.

In total, world oil supply in March increased by 180k bpd to average 98.15mln bpd, an increase of 2.15mln bpd Y/Y.

And yet, at the same time, the OPEC-14 group crude output fell 201k b/d in March to 31.958m bpd, the lowest in one year.

While several nations saw their production decline in March, including Angola, Venezuela, Algeria and Saudi Arabia, it was and continues to be a Venezuela story.Amusingly, OPEC Sec Gen Barkindo steamrolled through the nuances, and claimed that OPEC production cut compliance had soared to 150% in March, when all he meant was that Venezuela production continues to plunge.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Barkindo also said that a longer-term alliance between OPEC/Non-OPEC to be discussed in June, and said he was Barkindo confident the supply cut deal will be extended beyond 2018, adding that he sees the oil market rebalancing in Q2/Q3 2018, whereas previously he saw it rebalancing by end-2018.

Finally, the latest OPEC report had an interesting sidebar on China's new crude oil futures, which it wondered if it will become "a new regional crude benchmark." This is what it said:

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