Oil prices: Saudis on verge, but don't have all the trump cards

Oil&Gas Materials 21 July 2016 18:09 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 21

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The situation on the oil markets is nearing a point beyond which the Saudis can no longer sit on their hands and eat into their depleting cash reserves, Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a Washington based think tank focused on energy security, and a senior adviser to the United States Energy Security Council believes.

“How far are we from this point? I believe months, not years,” Luft told Trend July 21.

However, when it comes to oil prices the main wild card is not what the Saudis will do but what will the Libyans do, Luft believes.

“If the political situation improves there - something we will know in the next month or two - we could see an additional 600,000 barrels a day coming online pushing prices to the low 40s, perhaps lower,”

Barring that, analyst predicts oil prices to be climb to $65 a barrel by the end of the year and to the $70-$80 range next year.

Libya is a large global oil producer and OPEC member.

Since 2014, Libya has been split between rival governments and parliaments based in the western and eastern regions, each backed by different militias and tribes.

Last month the country’s rival governments in the east and west agreed to merge their competing oil companies. The agreement was hailed as a positive step and some even predicted Libya could quickly double its oil production.

According to the latest OPEC data, Libya produced 332,000 barrels oil per day in June compared to 271,000 barrels per day in May. In end 2015, the country produced 401,000 barrels per day.

Saudi Arabia produced 10.308 million barrels per day of oil in June compared to 10.242 million barrels per day in May, according to OPEC’s estimates.

The total OPEC oil production in June increased by 264,100 barrels per day to average 32.858 million barrels per day.