A slowdown in USA production growth next year comes at a delicate time for oil markets, especially with Iran production being curtailed while uncertainties remain in Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria, all three are OPEC producers.
The IEA noted in its report that Iraqi production jumped by 90,000 b/d in August and with its exports running at almost 4 million b/d, it had shipped more crude than Iran produced.
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Iran's oil production fell for the fourth month in a row, according to OPEC data, to 3.584 million barrels, compared to 3.734 million barrels last July. Reaching that level of would probably take several months and require significant drilling activity. Oil demand growth in 2019 is expected to rise by 250,000 bpd, a decrease from EIA's previous projection for an increase of 290,000 bpd. In the week of September 7 alone, USA crude stocks fell 5.3 million barrels to 396.2 barrels.
OPEC countries have finally started increasing production. It is unlikely any production from those fields will be seen before the first quarter of next year at the earliest. Until the last few years, it seemed far-fetched that the USA would ever regain the No. 1 spot. But it won't decide whether the world needs that extra oil until after meeting with its OPEC allies later this month in Algiers.
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The figures show Libya was the highest contributor, increasing its production by 270,000 barrels per day while the total OPEC production increased by 230,000 barrels per day.
Petromatrix said in a research note that "There has been a lot of speculative interest searching for Brent above $80.00 a barrel on the back of the USA sanctions on buyers of Iranian crude oil, but so far this year any buying of Brent above $79.00 barrel did not have a long shelf life".
"There was a lot of factors that were causing it to drift lower", said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in NY. While these are legitimate worries, they won't manifest themselves until next year.
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"The Iran story is the dominant factor for prices". "The price range for Brent of $70-$80 per barrel in place since April could be tested", it said.