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Thursday, May 3, 2018

volatile Oil trade ~ Venezuela mulls Oil trade with India in Rupees

Crude oil is a naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits and other organic materials. A type of fossil fuel, crude oil can be refined to produce usable products such as gasoline, diesel and various forms of petrochemicals. It is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it can't be replaced naturally at the rate we consume it and is therefore a limited resource.. .. … and, interestingly,  crude oil production, demand and supply and its trading are not necessarily linked to each other !!

Yet Crude oil is most sought after globally !  In 1973, Egypt and Syria waged a surprise war on Israel, which soon divided many countries into supporters of either side. Subsequently, several oil-exporting Arab nations curtailed oil production (known as “the oil embargo”), quadrupling oil prices within a quarter. This oil crisis was one of the biggest factors that pushed some oil-consuming, industrialized nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom into an economic recession that lasted over a year.  The timeline of the Soviet Union collapse can be traced to Saudi Arabia deciding to stop protecting oil prices and increasing production fourfold in 1985. The sudden fall in oil prices was one of the key factors that weakened the Nation. 

Oil prices fell in volatile trade on Tuesday, as a surge in U.S. shale oil output, deteriorating equity markets and another Trump administration shakeup weighed on futures.  U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 77 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $60.59 a barrel by 12:15 p.m. ET (1615 GMT). Brent crude futures were down 24 cents at $64.70 per barrel.  U.S. crude production from major shale formations is expected to rise by 131,000 bpd in April from the previous month to an all-time high 6.95 million bpd, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report on Monday.

In Ghana, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation limited says it did no wrong in the sale of the 942,000 barrels of crude to BB Energy. It says the quantity is also not 1.8 million barrels as claimed by COPEC.  Head of Fuel Trading at BOST,  said the total crude that came in was 945,000 barrels, and it came in February 2017 and was to be refined by the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). TOR however could not refine the consignment due to operational challenges. A decision was taken in September to sell the product. At a media briefing in Accra, Mr. Mantey said BOST has a 90 day credit facility and therefore selling the product for cash was prudent and strategic. It saved the nation and BOST from legal tussle with suppliers. He said the two dollar discount is standard practice in the oil industry.
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The pending collapse of Venezuela poses serious short- and long-term challenges for oil markets, but it also contains a silver lining for the OPEC cartel. Venezuelan oil production has been in decline for the past decade, but output has plunged rapidly in recent months as the OPEC member’s political and economic crisis intensifies bringing state oil company PDVSA to its knees. Venezuela production hit a three-decade low of 1.6 million barrels a day in January, down 20% from the same month a year earlier and off a whopping 600,000 barrels a day from its 2016 average of nearly 2.2 million barrels a day.

The country’s situation will only get worse. Venezuelan production is likely to fall another 400,000 to 600,000 barrels a day this year – and that assumes President Nicolas Maduro’s beleaguered regime survives. Total collapse of the regime, which the United States could help bring about by imposing tough new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, could see output ground to a complete halt. Much hinges on Venezuela’s presidential elections on May 20. If Maduro uses the election to further consolidate his grip on power, it could prompt Washington to slap the harshest of measures on Caracas. These could include an outright ban on imports of Venezuelan crude, or, more likely, an embargo on U.S. exports of light oil and refined products to the South American country.

Venezuela’s woes have been flagged by the International Energy Agency as a major wild card in oil markets this year that have contributed to the recent firming of crude oil prices, which are sitting at comfortable $65 a barrel on the international benchmark. Venezuela’s meltdown comes at a convenient time for OPEC and provides a convenient hole for U.S. shale growth and keep it from crashing the market again.  The total collapse of Venezuela could bring about a different set of issues. The ensuing chaos and confusion could see Venezuelan exports drop to zero while buyers try to assess who to trust in Caracas. Venezuela’s precarious financial position has already hampered its oil trade. Courts in the Netherlands Antilles have already permitted PDVSA creditors to seize two of the company’s oil cargoes in recent months.  President Trump’s administration wields much power over Caracas because the United States is Venezuela’s largest crude customer – although U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil have fallen sharply over the past year due to the OPEC member’s upstream problems and, to a lesser extent, fears of violating existing sanctions.

Now reads this interesting news .. .. ..  South American oil-rich nation Venezuela has requested India for an Iran-style arrangement wherein bilateral trade can be permitted in Indian Rupees instead of the US Dollar.

Visiting Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in New Delhi on Monday that Venezuela wants trade with India in oil and other commodities such as food and medicines to be conducted in Indian Rupees and not in US Dollars. Venezuela has been facing economic sanctions imposed by the United States. He said that in his interaction with senior Indian ministers during his visit, he had kept in mind that India had granted this facility recently to Iran. “We did seek it (a similar decision from India regarding Venezuela),” Mr Arreaza told reporters but pointed out that Venezuela even now trades with China, Russia and Turkey in currencies other than the US Dollar.

Venezuela wants to be able to do the same with India as well, said Mr. Arreaza, adding that he is awaiting a decision on this matter by the Indian Finance Ministry. “If such a decision is taken, we will open accounts in banks here (in India),” he said. It may be recalled that New Delhi had recently allowed investment in Indian Rupees in Iran. Till then, India had allowed this facility only in neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan.

That augurs well for the Nation and lot of that keeps happening  for the Nation under Sri Narendra Modiji.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Mar 2018.

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