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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Saudi Oil Output to Return Faster than Expected, Prices Ease

Politics

7Dnews London

Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:06 GMT

With tensions easing in the oil market after the September 14th attack on installations belonging to Saudi oil company Aramco, oil prices began to settle, Reuters and AFP reported on Tuesday September 17th.

Saudi Arabia's oil output will be fully back online quicker than initially thought following the weekend attacks on production facilities, two sources briefed on the latest developments told Reuters.

The Kingdom is close to restoring 70% of the 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) production lost following the attacks, a top Saudi source said.

That source said output will be fully back online in the next 2-3 weeks.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday September 17th but held most of the previous day's record gains that were fuelled by the attack on Saudi facilities that wiped out half the country's crude output.

Traders were nervously awaiting further US response after it said Iran was likely to blame. The crisis revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Gulf region.

"Oil prices have settled in the wake of Monday's 20% spike caused by a drone attack on a major Saudi Arabian refinery but shares in oil companies and utilities continue to trade higher," noted Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index trading group.

Prices of Brent crude, the main international oil contract, rocketed by one-fifth at one stage on Monday before settling up 14.6%, which was a record one-day increase.

The spike stoked fears that costlier energy and geopolitical instability could weigh on an already slowing global economy.

The main US crude contract, WTI, also surged almost 15% on Monday.

"Geopolitical uncertainty is certainly nothing new in the Middle East," noted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

However, Monday's surge "has raised concerns that if sustained, a rise in prices could prompt further weakness in a global economy already vulnerable to concerns about slowing demand,” he added.

US President Donald Trump has said he is ready to help Riyadh following the strikes, but he would await a "definitive" determination on who was responsible.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but Washington and Riyadh have pointed the finger at Tehran, which denies the accusations.


Middle East