Oil holds near $20 as Saudis surge, Russia stands pat on output

By Sharon Cho, Alex Longley on 4/1/2020

SINGAPORE (Bloomberg) - Oil held near $20 a barrel as Saudi Aramco’s output surged above 12 million barrels a day, but Russia said it would refrain from further production hikes.

Crude futures in New York were lower Wednesday, following a record decline in the first quarter. While state-run Aramco’s oil supply has surpassed 12 million barrels a day and is ticking higher, Russia said it won’t lift output as it’s not profitable to do so, according to a government official familiar with the country’s plans. President Trump has said the U.S. will meet with Saudi Arabia and Russia in an attempt to bolster prices.

The market is grappling with a bumper oversupply, while demand is set to fall by as much as 30 million barrels a day in April, according to an executive at the world’s largest independent oil trader. Any agreement to cut output would likely be too late and would fall short of the loss in consumption, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Industry data signaled that U.S. oil stockpiles are set for their biggest weekly increase since 2017.

 “I don’t think they’re going to come to the table for talks just yet, because for both sides, it would require a significant step-down,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “I do think both Russia and Saudi Arabia will be forced to cut back production, not because there’s a deal or they’re talking, but because of market forces.”

Prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate lost 21 cents to $20.27 a barrel as of 10:35 a.m. in London
  • Brent crude for June settlement fell 4.8% to $25.09
  • Dated Brent, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s real oil supply, was assessed at $17.675 on Tuesday, down 11.5 cents from Monday when it was already the lowest price since 2002

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