Saudi Arabia not confirming Trump's 2M barrels

Saudi king said will boost oil output if needed - White House

According to Bloomberg, Saudi state media have confirmed a phone call between Trump and King Salman took place, but have not confirmed any agreement on production increases.

"Prices to [sic] high!"

A little over an hour later, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on the call, but offered few details. It added there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need "to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies". It did not elaborate. The US president says King Salman agreed, although that claim remains unconfirmed by Riyadh.

The Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November when the U.S. re-imposes sanctions against Tehran, after Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers.

However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that OPEC crude production only decreased from 32.7 million barrels per day in 2016 to 32.5 million in 2017, a drop of less than one per cent.

"We are in a very attractive oil price environment and our house view is that oil will hit $90 by the end of the second quarter of next year", Hootan Yazhari, head of frontier markets equity research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch told CNBC.

Other analysts were more doubtful about immediate effects.

Saudis are used to USA requests for oil. They're not used to this kind of public messaging.

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"In response to the president's assessment of a deficit in the oil market, King Salman affirmed that the kingdom maintains a two million barrel per day spare capacity, which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality". He also noted it always takes at least two months before a change in shipping commitments affects the market.

USA officials are pressing allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, to adhere to the sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Iran to negotiate a follow-up agreement to halt its nuclear programmes.

Iran had been pushing hard for oil producers to hold output steady as USA sanctions are expected to hit its exports.

Trump's comments came Saturday as global financial markets were closed.

Trump was not specific on whether the additional 2 million barrels was a per-day figure - but worldwide daily demand is nearing 100 million bpd. It produces around 10 million barrels of crude per day, according to OPEC.

"I think it will contribute significantly to meet the extra demand that we see coming in the second half", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Faleh told reporters at the time.

"Saudi Arabia obviously can deliver as much as the market would need, but we're going to be respectful of the one-million-barrel cap - and at the same time be respectful of allocating some of that to countries that deliver it", al-Falih said then.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of trying to push up oil prices and said both countries are acting against the foundation of OPEC. South Korea accounted for 14 per cent of Iran's oil exports a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Department.


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