Middle East oil exporters are locked in an increasingly fierce battle for the world’s fastest-growing markets in Asia, as producers worldwide ship more crude east to compensate for shrinking demand from the United States and Europe.
The fight for the trillion-dollar Asian oil market has ended decades of comfortable dominance for Middle East producers, who faced so little competition that refiners in Asia complained of being charged a premium of a dollar or so per barrel above what buyers in Europe or the Americas paid.
Global energy service giants are banking on a boom in Saudi oil and gas drilling over the next few years to revive profits that are being squeezed by overcapacity in the North American market.
Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes have all singled out Saudi Arabia as a major growth market for next year as they search the globe for better returns than the saturated U.S. and Canadian markets offer.
A global deal to lift sanctions against Iran could unleash a flood of oil on to world markets by next year just as crude output recovers in Libya and Iraq, triggering a slide in prices and a major shake-up of the energy landscape.
The prospect of cheaper oil is a welcome relief for the West, but poses a major threat to Russia and a string of countries that depend on oil revenues to finance their budgets.
Iran’s interim deal with global powers on its nuclear program may do little to remove the risk premium on Middle East oil and may even send prices higher, according to an analyst.
“Price reaction may be subdued in the short-term,” said Michael Cohen, analyst at Barclays Bank Plc. in a telephone interview from New York. “There are so many geopolitical tensions that, if anything, could actually be worse off [due to] this deal.”
When Barack Obama sits down tomorrow with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, he’ll do so knowing the U.S. is importing the least crude in two decades, a shift changing America’s strongest relationship in the Arab world.
Five years after Obama’s first visit to Riyadh, the drilling of shale oil fields from North Dakota to Texas has put the U.S. on the path to energy independence, weakening economic interdependence between the two nations as they work through disagreements on Syria and Iran.
The United States will become the world’s largest oil producer next year – overtaking Russia – thanks to its shale oil boom which has transformed the global energy landscape, the West’s energy watchdog said on Friday.
The prediction comes only days after estimates by the U.S. government showed the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, has ceded its ranking as top global oil importer to China, thanks to the shale revolution cutting import needs.
Total crude oil production in the US, including liquids separated from natural gas, was the highest compared to all other countries in the first quarter of this year, according to a report released by the Bank of America Corporation (BAC).
SINGAPORE/SEOUL — Many Asian refiners say they are shying away from buying the flagship grade of Iraqi crude in spot markets, worried that the militant insurgency in the country could spread to the area where the oil is churned out and exported.
Although the mounting conflict that has swept parts of Iraq is still hundreds of kilometers away from the southern region which produces and ships Basra Light crude, Asian buyers say they are concerned about possible supply disruptions.
Oil prices have been on a strong run this month, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, but over the last few days, prices have taken a bit of a breather. From a market perspective, we haven't seen the real nightmare scenario yet.
What is Saudi Arabia’s bottom line for propping up oil prices unilaterally before it leans on the rest of OPEC to help share the burden?
At $112 a barrel for Brent crude, well above OPEC’s preferred $100, it may not look like a hot issue just yet.
As Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer said this week, the oil market is in “the best situation it can be” and at “the right price.”