WTI Oil plunges below $70 amid supply glut concerns; details inside

This post dives deep into the complex dynamics of OPEC+ production cuts, cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and insights from the US Petroleum weekly report.

Oil prices plunged below $70 per barrel on Wednesday, reaching a six-month low. This decline was driven by a confluence of factors, despite a larger-than-expected draw in US crude oil inventories. Chief among these concerns was the possibility of an oil glut, with rapidly increasing US production and ample global supplies threatening to eclipse the upcoming OPEC+ production cuts scheduled for early 2024.

Adding to the bearish sentiment was Moody’s recent downgrade of China’s credit rating outlook from “stable” to “negative.” This decision highlighted concerns about the country’s fiscal and economic strength, particularly its ability to manage local government debts, state-owned enterprises, and the ongoing property crisis. While China’s government expressed optimism about an economic rebound, Moody’s forecasts a significant slowdown in growth, with projections of 4% in 2024-2025 and an average of 3.8% from 2026 to 2030. As the world’s largest oil importer, a potential decline in China’s oil demand due to economic slowdown could further depress global oil prices.

Beyond China, weak economic data from major economies like Japan, the US, and the Eurozone further dampened market optimism. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s decision to lower its January delivery prices due to sluggish demand and softened prices served as another bearish indicator.

Putin and MBS Discuss Boosting Oil Cooperation and Regional Stability

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed increased collaboration on oil prices during talks as OPEC+ members. The meeting followed Putin’s visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Despite a recent fall in oil prices, both leaders expressed commitment to ongoing cooperation within OPEC+, which consists of OPEC and allied countries led by Russia. They acknowledged the joint responsibility to maintain stability in the international energy market.

The discussions covered not only oil but also regional issues such as the Israeli-Hamas conflict and Ukraine. The leaders plan to further strengthen their relations, with the next meeting scheduled in Moscow.

The cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which collectively control a significant share of daily oil production, plays a crucial role in influencing global oil prices.

US Petroleum Weekly Report

The US Petroleum Reports offer a glimpse into the contrasting trends shaping the nation’s oil market. While crude oil production witnessed a significant surge, rising by 518,000 barrels per day (mbpd) to 16.0 mbpd in the week ending November 24, it dipped slightly to 16.2 mbpd the following week. This renewed focus on production indicates the industry’s efforts to meet growing demand.

Refineries, however, displayed a different pattern. Operating at 89.8% capacity in the week ending November 24, their utilization rate dipped to 90.5% the following week, suggesting a slight adjustment in processing activities.

Despite the fluctuation in utilization, gasoline production increased to 9.5 mbpd in the week ending December 1, highlighting a focus on meeting seasonal demand. Distillate fuel production followed a similar trend, remaining stable at 5.1 mbpd during the same period.

Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 6.6 mbpd, 6.4% more than the same four-week period last year.

Commercial crude oil inventories, a key indicator of supply and demand balance, saw contrasting movements. While a drawdown of 4.6 million barrels was observed in the week ending December 1, suggesting stronger consumption, the previous week recorded a build of 1.6 million barrels.

Interestingly, motor gasoline inventories surpassed the five-year average, reaching a total of 5.4 million barrels in the week ending December 1. This increase reflects the seasonal rise in demand for gasoline, typically seen during the holiday season. In contrast, distillate fuel inventories remained below the five-year average despite a significant increase of 5.2 million barrels in the week ending November 24. This suggests a continued cautious approach to inventory management in this segment of the market.


The global energy landscape is navigating through a complex web of challenges, prominently featured by the recent plunge in oil prices below $70 per barrel. The supply glut concerns, heightened by robust U.S. oil production and exacerbated by Moody’s downgrade of China’s credit rating outlook, have cast a shadow over the market. The article intricately examines these dynamics, shedding light on OPEC+ production cuts, collaborative efforts between Putin and MBS, and insights from the U.S. Petroleum Weekly Report.

The nuanced trends in crude oil production, refinery utilization, and inventory shifts underscore the intricate tapestry shaping the energy sector’s current trajectory. As stakeholders grapple with these multifaceted influences, the global energy turmoil remains a focal point, demanding close attention and strategic considerations for market participants.

Disclaimer: This post has been written exclusively for educational purposes. The securities mentioned are only examples and not recommendations. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please consult an expert before making related decisions.