Oil: the prices of Brent and WTI continue to plummet

New York (awp / afp) – Among a surge in the production of some oil giants, Iran's sanctions less serious than expected and doubts about future demand, oil prices have continued to plunge on Friday.

The price of a New York WTI barrel fell for the tenth consecutive session, from 48 cents to 60.19 dollars, occasionally recording its longest series of decline since the 1980s. It has lost more than 21% since its recent peak on 3 October.

The price of a barrel of Brent, quoted in London, rose during the session under the $ 70 bar for the first time since April, before recovering a little. He finished with 47 cents at $ 70.18.

At the beginning of October, oil prices had reached their maximum for four years, $ 86.74 for Brent and $ 76.90 for WTI, while markets feared to see the second part of US sanctions against Tehran lower the volume of black gold available.

Indeed, leaving the Iranian nuclear agreement, the US administration had said it wanted to reduce Iranian exports to zero barrels.

But last Monday, Washington eased its message and granted exemptions to eight Iranian oil importers, which will allow Iran to continue exporting some of its extractions.

New effort by OPEC?

In addition, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners, including Russia, decided in June to ease their production limitation agreement to address investor concerns.

In the United States, the United States has also opened its doors in recent months, with production rising to the latest weekly figures with a record of 11.6 million barrels per day. Crude stocks have risen steadily over the past seven weeks.

At the same time, concerns about the strength of oil demand are increasing.

"China's growth is starting to slow down," said Cailin Birch, an analyst with The Economist Intelligence Unit.

"Likewise, the slightly dull quarterly results in the US support the idea that commercial tensions weigh on US groups," he added.

"We have seen the collapse of the financial markets in October, and there is still a small correlation with the demand for energy," said Robert Yawger of Mizuho.

Faced with falling prices, countries that set production targets should consider lowering it at an agreement follow-up meeting on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Although no decision will be made officially before the OPEC plenary meeting in Vienna in December, "it will not cost him much to say that they are thinking about reducing their extractions or that the theme will be on the table in Vienna," said Mr. Yawger.

Saudi hesitations

For OPEC, it will be a matter of reaffirming its role as a market regulator. By joining forces with other manufacturers, including the Russian giant, at the end of 2016, the organization managed to drive up the price of black gold.

But geopolitical considerations could complicate the task of OPEC. Saudi Arabia, as the world's leading exporter, is a founding member and a leading figure in the organization.

But a think tank close to Saudi power would work on the consequences of the country's exit from the cartel, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"This illustrates a seismic change in the oil market, the center of gravity is no longer in Ryad but in Houston", Texas, the heart of the US oil industry, said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix.

According to him, Saudi Arabia, which sees the US production of shale oil superior to that of the kingdom and weakens the power of OPEC in the market, would then consider a liberalization of its oil industry.

Furthermore, US-Saudi Arabia relations are tense. President Donald Trump had strongly criticized OPEC because of the high oil prices, and even the two countries had opposed it after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

AFP / rp


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