July 3, 2022 [THE EDGE MARKETS] – Oil prices rose about 1% in early Asian trade on Tuesday after the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said the nation is producing near capacity, countering expectations that it could help boost supply in a tight market.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been seen as the only two countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with spare capacity available to make up for lost Russian supply and weak output from other member nations.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $1.07, or 1%, to $110.64 a barrel at 0028 GMT, extending a 1.8% gain in the previous session.
Brent crude futures jumped $1.08, or 0.9%, to $116.17 a barrel, adding to a 1.7% rise in the previous session.
“A seam of tight supply news bolstered the market. Two major producers, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are said to be at, or very close to, near‑term capacity limits,” Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Tobin Gorey said in a note.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Monday UAE was producing near maximum capacity based on its quota of 3.168 million barrels per day (bpd) under the agreement with OPEC and its allies, together called OPEC+.
His comments confirmed remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron who told U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the Group of Seven nations meeting that the UAE was producing at maximum capacity and that Saudi Arabia could increase output by only 150,000 bpd, well below its nameplate spare capacity of around 2 million bpd.
Analysts also highlighted political unrest in Ecuador and Libya could also tighten supply further.
Libya’s National Oil Corp said on Monday it might have to declare force majeure in the Gulf of Sirte area within the next three days unless production and shipping resume at oil terminals there.
Ecuador’s Energy Ministry said the country could suspend oil output completely within the next two days amid anti-government protests. The former OPEC country was pumping around 520,000 barrels per day before the protests.
Those factors underscore shortages in the market, which have led to the market’s rebound this week, countering recession jitters that weighed on prices over the previous two weeks.
“More barrels must come to markets for oil prices to move meaningfully and steadily lower,” SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said in a note.
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