Each week, Al Attiyah Foundation publishes its energy market review, bringing you the latest global news from the oil, gas and petrochemicals sector.

Al-Attiyah Foundation - Weekly Energy Market Review

Oil Prices Post Weekly Gain of Over 3% on Rising Demand

Oil prices dipped on Friday, 15 March, a day after topping USD85 a barrel for the first time since November, but prices finished more than 3% higher for the week on rising demand from US refiners completing planned overhauls. Brent crude oil futures slid 9 cents or 0.11% to USD85.34 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 17 cents or 0.21% to USD81.04. Supplies are tightening for motor fuels and prices are at risk to go higher, analysts said. However, there are worries the US Federal Reserve won’t be able to cut interest rates because inflation remains above the central bank’s target of 2%. Cuts in interest rates are seen as an opportunity for demand growth in the United States. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency on Thursday raised its view on 2024 oil demand for a fourth time since November as Houthi attacks have disrupted Red Sea shipping. World oil demand will rise by 1.3 million bpd in 2024, the IEA said in its latest report, up 110,000 bpd from last month. It forecasts a slight supply deficit this year should OPEC+ members sustain their output cuts having previously forecast a surplus. In the US, oil rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose 6 to 510 last week, Baker Hughes said.

Asian Spot LNG Prices Inch up on Emerging Chinese Demand

Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices inched up on Friday after remaining flat last week, amid concerns over some cargo delays due to bad weather in Australia and as Asian buyers embraced the low prices. The average LNG price for April delivery into north-east Asia, which expires on Friday, remained unchanged from last week at USD8.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), a level last seen in late April 2021, industry sources estimated. However, the price for May delivery jumped to USD9/mmBtu, the sources added. With European receipts already slowing so far this month, the incentive for inter-basin flows could weigh on European LNG supply further in the coming weeks. Asia LNG futures also rose sharply, keeping pace with Europe. In Europe, gas prices are testing an upside trend, although inventories are well filled for the time of the year, and the end of the winter season is around the corner. However, more pressure on prices could be expected in the coming weeks and months as the filling season is starting. In the US, natural gas futures fell about 5% on Friday for a second straight weekly loss, pressured by forecasts for mild weather leading to lower gas demand. Prices were down about 8% for the week.

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