2015: OIL PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION, PRICES
Crude oil prices ended 2015 below $40 per barrel (b), the lowest level since early 2009. Spot prices for the international crude oil benchmark Brent averaged $52/b in 2015, 53% below the level in 2014 and 49% below the average price over 2010-14. Spot prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were also down 53% in 2015 compared with 2014, averaging $49/b for the year.
Lower crude oil prices in 2015 reflected the sustained excess of crude oil supply over global demand. As a result, global crude oil and other liquids inventories increased steadily through the year. Global inventories increased in each quarter of 2015, with a net inventory build of 1.72 million barrels per day, the highest rate since at least 1996.
U.S. highlights for 2015
As a result of lower crude oil prices, U.S. crude oil production began to decline in the second quarter of 2015. The decrease was led by reductions in Lower 48 onshore production, which began to fall in April. Despite the decline, production of crude oil averaged an estimated 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015, a 7% increase over 2014 and the highest rate since 1972.
The Brent-WTI price spread averaged less than $4/b in 2015, $3/b narrower than in 2014, and significantly below the 2011-13 average, when Brent traded nearly $14/b higher than WTI.
Based on data through October, U.S. imports of crude oil fell to their lowest level since 1995. Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Mexico continue to be the main sources of imported crude oil.
Restrictions on U.S. exports of crude oil were removed at the end of the year. However, EIA analysis indicates that the policy change is unlikely to result in a significant increase in crude exports from the United States given current market conditions
International highlights for 2015
EIA estimates that total Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude oil and other liquids production increased 3% to 37.4 million b/d in 2015, led by production growth in Iraq.
At its December 4 meeting, OPEC members announced they "should continue to closely monitor developments in the coming months," indicating that OPEC producers, led by Saudi Arabia, are continuing the policy of supporting production and defending market share in a low oil price environment.
On July 14, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (P5+1) was announced. The agreement could lead to sanctions relief, contingent on verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran has complied with key nuclear-related steps.
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PLATTS - For full-year 2017, South Korea's crude imports from its biggest supplier Saudi Arabia fell 1.7% to 319.02 million barrels, compared with 324.45 million barrels in the previous year, customs data showed. On the contrary, South Korea has imported 1.77 million mt, or around 13 million barrels, of crude from the US in 2017, about four times higher than in 2016. Shipments from Russia grew to 140,000 b/d last year from 112,000 b/d in 2016.
AOG - ADNOC’s 2030 strategy, he said, aims to capitalise on predicted global economic growth and demand for oil and petrochemical products, particularly in non-OECD countries. As its business responds to changing market dynamics, the company will continue to broaden its partnership base, strengthen its profitability, adapt to new realities and expand market access.
WNN - Under the terms of the assignment and purchase agreement it has signed with Nucleus and Brookfield, Toshiba will sell its rights to assert claims against Westinghouse related to the parent guarantees in the amount of $5.788 billion, and on account of other claims Toshiba holds against Westinghouse in the amount of $2.284 billion to Nucleus, for the sale price of $2.160 billion.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.23 a barrel at 0808 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, but down from a high of $69.37 earlier in the day. Brent on Monday rose to $70.37 a barrel, its highest since December 2014, the start of a three-year oil price slump. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.84 a barrel, down from a high of $63.89 earlier, but up 11 cents from their last settlement. WTI hit $64.89 on Tuesday, also the highest since December 2014.