Despite the American attempts and the shuttle trips of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, oil prices are stubborn and surprising everyone with their violent moves.
The US light crude, NYMEX, rose during trading today, Thursday, in the range of 4%, or the equivalent of 3.5 dollars per barrel, to reach levels near 98.7 dollars per barrel.
On the other hand, Brent crude, the benchmark, jumped around $4 a barrel, reaching levels above $102 a barrel, an increase of 4%, during Thursday’s trading. However, prices are still far from the peak of last week, when the US embargo ignited the market, causing Brent crude to jump near the levels of 140 dollars and 130 dollars a barrel, the highest in almost 14 years.
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According to the news, US refiners such as Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), Marathon Petroleum and Shell Western Supply and Trading are rushing to secure barrels of oil from former OPEC member Ecuador, which plans to increase oil production in light of high crude prices.
Pablo Noboa, director of oil trading at Ecuadorean state-owned EP Petroecuador, said the company held back-to-back meetings this week in Louisiana with several refineries (SE:2030) and oil trading companies.
Noboa added that refiners and traders are eager to sign medium and long-term supply contracts after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when oil on the global market is scarce, it makes sense to try to secure steady supplies.
He said Marathon is seeking 11 to 22 cargoes of Ecuadorean heavy oil over an 11-month period starting in June, while Shell Western is seeking to extend an existing 3-year supply contract that expires in December 2023.
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American exports of oil recorded a rise of 514,000 barrels at 2.936 million barrels per day, and imports increased by 76 thousand barrels to record 6.395 million barrels per day.
Data from the US Energy Information Administration revealed that oil production averaged 11.600 million barrels per day in the week ending March 11, the same level recorded in the previous week.
US net imports of oil decreased by 438 thousand barrels to reach 3.459 million barrels per day.
The Energy Information Administration data showed that US oil stocks rose by 4.3 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels.
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30 million barrels
And the US Department of Energy announced that it had awarded contracts for 30 million barrels of crude oil for sale from the country’s strategic reserve, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thirteen companies submitted 109 bids for evaluation, and contracts were awarded to only seven companies.
This includes 16.06 million barrels to Marathon Petroleum, 1.27 million barrels to Chevron (NYSE:CVX) Corp, 2.55 million barrels to Motiva Enterprises, and 4.2 million barrels to Phillips (AS:PHG)66, the US Energy Department said. , and 4.75 million barrels to Valero Marketing and Supply.
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The sale is part of coordinated action with 30 member countries of the International Energy Agency to collectively release 60 million barrels of strategic oil reserves.
The effort reflects a shared focus and willingness to address significant market and supply disruptions related to President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, according to the Energy Department.
To read more about the fallout from the war between Russia and Ukraine:
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