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Tight Oil Markets Could Be About To See A ‘Violent’ Price Spike

Tight Oil Markets Could Be About To See A ‘Violent’ Price Spike

VLCC

Supply disruptions in the Middle East on top of an already tight crude market could send oil prices violently upward, according to Rystad Energy.

Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers were reportedly attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this weekend, sending crude futures sharply up Monday morning.

Commenting on the incident, Bjørnar Tonhaugen, Head of Oil Market Research at Rystad Energy, says:

“In the short term, the perceived risk of supply disruptions from the area will only add to the premium of short-dated oil contracts compared to deferred contracts on the futures curve, which are already trading at a high premium.”

The tightness in prompt supplies is caused by declines in production from Iran and Venezuela, along with ongoing OPEC cuts, outages in Russia owing to the Urals contamination, maintenance in Kazakhstan, plus planned maintenance in the North Sea during the summer months.

“The oil market is reacting today not because the physical market suddenly has lost more oil supplies, but because of risks that the market may lose more oil in the coming weeks and months given the heightened risk of supply disruptions from the critical Persian Gulf region. Raising tensions even higher, news flows suggest the latest incident might be related to the conflict between Iran and the US, which puts the Strait of Hormuz in play,” Tonhaugen said. 

The incident occurred near the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. Around 40% of the world’s traded crude oil is transported through the waterway between Iran to the north and UAE/Oman to the south. Approximately 90% of Saudi Arabian crude exports and 75% of Iraqi exports pass through this shipping lane, in addition to all oil exports from Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

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