LONDON. — Oil rose by nearly $1 a barrel yesterday, lifted by concern about a steep drop in exports from Venezuela, although surging U.S. production kept gains in check. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 85 cents at $76,21 a barrel by 1222 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 rose 58 cents to $65.31 a barrel.
Venezuela, which faces the threat of U.S. sanctions and is in the midst of an economic crisis, is nearly a month behind delivering crude to customers from its main oil export terminals, according to shipping data, and chronic delays and production declines could breach state-run PDVSA’s supply contracts if backlogs are not cleared soon.
Tankers waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude, almost as much as state producer PDVSA shipped in April, are sitting off the OPEC member’s main oil port, according to shipping data.
“Troubles over supply from Venezuela come at a time when OPEC is considering easing supply cuts which have been in place since 2017 and were implemented to support the price,” London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler said.
“The big question for oil is whether or not OPEC decides to ease the production cuts, with the meeting still some two weeks away, oil traders could be in for an increased bout of volatility.”