Glutter and Glutterer… Oil prices are extending their losses this morning as disappointing US economic growth indicators combined with expectations of a surge in supply from Nigeria and Libya are adding to fears about increasing overhang of oil stocks.
Amid the most enduring global oil glut in decades, two OPEC crude producers whose supplies have been crushed by domestic conflicts are preparing to add hundreds of thousands of barrels to world markets within weeks.
Libya’s state oil company on Wednesday lifted curbs on crude sales from the ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina, potentially unlocking 300,000 barrels a day of supply. In Nigeria, Exxon Mobil Corp. was said to be ready to resume shipments of Qua Iboe crude, the country’s biggest export grade, which averaged about 340,000 barrels a day in shipments last year, according to Bloomberg estimates. On top of that, a second Nigerian grade operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc is scheduled to restart about 200,000 barrels a day of flow within days.
While there are reasons to be cautious about whether the barrels will actually flow as anticipated, a resumption of those supplies — more than 800,000 barrels a day in all — could more than triple the global surplus that has kept prices at less than half their levels in 2014. It would also come just as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia are set to meet in Algiers later this month to discuss a possible output freeze to steady world oil markets.
“If you have some restart of Nigeria and some restart of Libya, then the rebalancing gets pushed even further out,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland, said by phone. “It complicates matters a lot before the meeting in Algeria.”
And combined with crappy US data, oil prices are sliding after an early spike…
“If it’s true, it’s another downward pressure for the markets because that would be a large amount to return to the market,” Thomas Pugh, commodities economist at Capital Economics, said by phone, adding that he doubts the resumptions will materialize given the situations in both countries.