By Sharon Cho and Alex Longley
Adding to the gloomy price outlook, Libyan oil production is said to have reached about 500,000 barrels a day.
Big questions hanging over the market: The U.S. election, whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies go ahead with a planned production increase in January, and the pace of China’s and India’s demand recovery.
Diesel sales in India surged in the first half of October, while a Chinese mega-refiner was snapping up crude earlier in the week, a sign of a more positive outlook.
“Today’s decline is no surprise, in the same way that new bearish Covid-19 news isn’t unexpected any more,” said Rystad Energy AS analyst Paola Rodriguez Masiu. “Although we will not likely enter such deep lockdowns like in the pandemic’s first wave, we still see restrictions again, and they do have an effect in every aspect of our lives, including fuel consumption.”
Global oil inventories are currently shrinking, but those declines would cease should OPEC+ press ahead with its plan to increase production, according to Gunvor Group Ltd. The shape of the oil futures curve has strengthened markedly in the second half of this week, with Brent’s nearest timespread trading at its firmest since July, indicating that oversupply concerns are easing.
Gunvor has also mothballed its refinery in Antwerp and permanently shut the crude units at its Rotterdam refinery. It’s the latest sign of pain in the European refining industry, after Total SE and Galp Energia SGPS SA, reported negative refining margins for the third quarter.