Kuwait sees risk of oil supply shortage in 2019 due to Venezuela

Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro

Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Maduro

On the positive side and somewhat limiting occasional dips, crude oil prices remain supported by the ongoing OPEC+ deal to curb production, supply disruptions from Venezuela and Libya and the continuation of United States sanctions against Iranian exports. The cartel and the world's biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, slashed its output more than expected under the OPEC deal, to 10.2 million barrels a day in January and is aiming to pump around 100,000 barrels less in February.

USA sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company could also lift prices, though they have yet to trigger any sharp increase.

US crude futures were down 50 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $54.06 a barrel by 1400 GMT.

Institutions also increased their holdings of Brent crude at the end of January with the latest ICE Futures data showing holdings increasing by 30 million barrels to 233 million barrels, according to Reuters.

Global benchmark Brent crude dropped almost 1% to $61.39 a barrel while WTI futures were down more than 1% at $53.12 a barrel.

When asked about how European and Asian customers could be convinced to buy oil from Venezuela, risking sanctions from Washington, he stated that now, Washington's sanctions apply only to U.S. entities.

The producers known as OPEC+ started cutting production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from last month to avert a new supply glut, and OPEC has delivered nearly three-quarters of its pledged cuts already, a Reuters survey showed last week.

The January decrease was the largest in the past 12 months as Opec cut production in response to falling oil prices.

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In an interview aired by private broadcaster Televen, Manuel Quevedo, also president of the oil company, commented on USA sanctions imposed last week on PDVSA and its US subsidiary Citgo.

Market participants are also watching for developments surrounding the U.S.

Analysts said USA sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies.

OPEC's share of the cut is 800,000 bpd, to be delivered by 11 members - all except Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

WTI futures were up $0.46, or 0.84%, at $55.02 per barrel by 0940 GMT.

The global economic outlook and prospects for growth in fuel demand have been clouded by poor economic data in China and US-China trade tensions.

Meanwhile, hopes for thawing China-US relations have also helped ease concerns over slowing economic growth.

US President Donald Trump last week said he would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in coming weeks to try to settle the two countries' dispute.

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