原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:squart 转载请注明出处

For a few months now, OPEC has beenboosting production to ease concerns about high oil prices amid expected supplylosses from Venezuela and Iran.


The cartel’s largest producer and exporter,Saudi Arabia, has been specifically targeting an increase in crude oil exportsto the most transparent market, the United States, which reports crude oilimports and inventory levels every week.


On the one hand, the Saudis are looking toregain their foothold in the American market after having cut shipments to theUnited States to a 30-year-low at the end of last year, when OPEC’s efforts toerase the global oil glut were in full swing.


In October 2017, U.S. imports from SaudiArabia stood at 582,000 bpd—the lowest level since November 1987, as OPEC’sleader, its fellow OPEC members, and Russia-led non-OPEC allies part of theproduction cut pact were working to drain the global oil glut that weighed onoil prices and on the incomes of oil producing countries.


In the spring of this year, it becameevident that OPEC and friends achieved their mission to draw global inventoriesdown to the five-year average. The oil market tightened, but OPEC’s leaderSaudi Arabia was still vowing to continue with the production cut pact at leastuntil the end of this year.


However, the U.S. announced the return ofsanctions on Iran, including on its oil, Venezuela’s production continued toplunge by around 40,000 bpd-50,000 bpd every month, outages in Libya andNigeria continued, and Brent Crude prices hit $80 a barrel in May.


Consumers and large oil-importing nationsstarted to express concern about the high oil prices, and analysts started toquestion whether $80 oil was the beginning of demand destruction. PresidentTrump stormed into the debate with several tweets aimed at OPEC and itsprice-fixing policies.


After OPEC and its allies decided in Junethat they would ease compliance rates, that is, boost production, U.S. importsfrom Saudi Arabia started to rise again, exceeding 1 million bpd at the end oflast month. That has come at the expense of another Middle Eastern oilsupplier, Iraq, whose crude oil exports to the United States have been droppingfrom the highs of more than 800,000 bpd in April this year, to less than a400,000 bpd four-week average as of August 31.


Saudi Arabia is resuming higher crude oilexports to the United States to achieve two goals: regain market share and keepa lid on oil prices and U.S. gas prices, at least until the mid-term electionsin November.