USA crude oil imports lower, exports enhance final week

BC-Venezuela’s-in-Crisis The-Oil-Market-Doesn’t-Care

BC-Venezuela’s-in-Crisis The-Oil-Market-Doesn’t-Care , Bloomberg

But evidence of the concern around supply of heavy crudes is apparent in the USA physical market, where prices for Mars Sour WTC-MRS, a medium crude, shot to their highest since early 2011 this week.

Oil prices edged up on Friday as turmoil in Venezuela increased the chances of tighter global supply if the USA makes good on signals that it could impose sanctions on Venezuelan exports.

But U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to place "major tariffs" on Chinese goods imported into the United States if his administration didn't reach a desirable deal with Beijing.

Global oil markets are facing an uncertain year with slowing global growth driving less global demand for oil while the supply picture looks unclear with production cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation potentially counteracted by the growth in USA shale oil output.

"Venezuelan production will decline by an additional 300,000-500,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, but such punitive measures could expand that outage by several hundred thousand barrels", it said.

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However, the rally has faltered amid shaky economic forecasts and record production of U.S. crude.

Venezuela's other leading oil customers are China and India.

Record U.S. production would likely offset any short-term disruptions to Venezuelan supply due to possible U.S. sanctions, Britain's Barclays said in a note. The threat to reduce supplies supported futures prices.

Venezuelan oil exports to the US have declined steadily over the years, falling particularly sharply over the past decade as its production plummeted amid its long economic and political crisis.

Venezuelan oil only accounts for 6% of United States oil imports, but an oil embargo could cause the USA to strain its domestic supply.

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The prospects of future oil demand are getting clouded by the global growth worries, analysts said. Production of heavy crude in Mexico has been declining, and although there is a strong supply in Canada, there are challenges to getting that crude to the Gulf Coast refineries.

The OPEC member has already seen its output drop 50 percent in five years as a spiraling economic crisis takes its toll on the oil industry. OPEC's latest production cuts tightened the supply of heavy crude from Saudi Arabia.

In a news conference, Guaido, who this week declared himself acting Venezuelan president, said he is preparing to dismiss the head of state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA as well as the board of its Houston-based refining arm, Citgo Petroleum Corp, taking on two of the power centers that help to bankroll the Maduro government.

Oil prices remained mostly flat Thursday morning as investors try to figure out how political turmoil in Venezuela could impact the oil market.

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