Oil Settles Down on Worries Over European Banks

(MENAFN- The Al-Attiyah Foundation) Oil prices settled lower on Friday as European banking shares fell and after U.S. energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said refilling the country's Strategic petroleum Reserve (SPR) may take several years, dampening demand prospects. The White House said in October it would buy back oil for the SPR when prices were at or below about $67-$72 per barrel. brent crude settled down 92 cents, or 1.2%, to $74.99. West Texas Intermediate U.S. crude futures fell 70 cents, or 1%, to $69.26 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose last week as banking sector turmoil eased. Brent futures rose 2.8% in the week while U.S. crude futures rose 3.8%. The banking stocks in Europe slid with Deutsche Bank and UBS Group slammed by worries that the worst problems in the sector since the 2008 financial crisis could persist. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said a previously announced cut of 500,000 barrels per day in Russia's oil production would be from an output level of 10.2 million bpd in February, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. That means Russia aims to produce 9.7 million bpd between March and June, according to Novak, a much smaller output cut than Moscow previously indicated.

Asia Spot Prices Slip as Weak Northern Demand Remains

Asian spot prices of liquefied natural gas declined last week, falling to a 21-month low, as weak demand in the northeast Asia region continues to pressure prices down. The average LNG price was $13 per mmBtu, down 50 cents, or 3.7%, from the previous week, industry sources estimated. Prices have fallen 53% year-to-date and around 81% from the August 2022 peak at $70.50 per mmBtu. In Europe, gas prices rose on Friday due to firm demand and as industrial action protesting against pension system changes in France affected operations at nuclear plants and LNG terminals. European gas prices had also been supported by mildly colder weather and less wind. Analysts said that the market has also continued to eye the potential for production issues across several Atlantic basin liquefaction terminals, including Freeport LNG in the U.S. and Angola LNG. Angola's only LNG project had recently cancelled tenders due to production issues at its plant, while a company spokesperson said the plant is currently operating at reduced rates. Meanwhile, the U.S. LNG export plant, Freeport, had cancelled up to four shipments of LNG due to restart snags after an eight-month-long outage.

By: The Al-Attiyah Foundation


The Al-Attiyah Foundation

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