US calls for increased supplies as oil prices remain high

01 May 2011

Saudi Arabia says there is no shortage in oil supply

Global crude oil prices remained above $110 a barrel again this week with differences between consumers and producers on the state of supply adding to concerns over protests.

European benchmark Brent prices rose by $1 to $124.90 a barrel on 21 April from $123.90 a barrel seven days earlier.

The US’ West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price also rose to $112.59, up $0.79 a barrel compared to $111.80 a barrel on 21 April.

According to the US’ Energy Information Administration (EIA), US crude oil stocks are on the rise again, reaching 363.1 million barrels on 22 April, up more than 6 million barrels from the 357 million barrels reported a week earlier. This is more than 5 million barrels over the inventory figure seen at the same time in 2010.

However, analysts at Barclays Capital argue that US oil demand “remains robust”, running at 2.5 per cent higher year on year so far.

The 12-crude basket of exports from the member states of the international oil producers group Opec traded at $119.34 on 27 April, the last date for which prices were available, up $1.37 from $117.97 a barrel the previous week.

The backdrop of the oil market continues to remain politically charged.

US president Barack Obama, who has up to now called for energy saving measures on the demand side, has urged oil producers to increase their supplies, contradicting his recent statements that oil prices were not being driven up by a lack of supply.

According to analysts at Barclays Capital, this clearly signals concern over prices, which have remained at elevated levels for some time now. However, the perspective is not shared in Saudi Arabia, where Khalid al-Falih the CEO of Saudi Aramco, reiterated that that there was no shortage in global oil supply.

Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mines, stated that the kingdom had reduced output by 800,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 8.3 million b/d in March, from 9.1 million b/d in February.

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