OPEC production dipped in April yet again, falling to a one-year low. According to S&P Global Platts, output fell to 32.0 million barrels per day (mb/d), a decline of 140,000 bpd from March, and crucially, 730,000 bpd below the group’s stated target.
The over-compliance is the result of a rapid and ongoing deterioration in Venezuela’s production, plus Iraq’s output dipped for the first time in months.
China’s oil imports hit record high. China’s crude oil imports hit a record high in April at 9.64 mb/d, a jump of 14.7 percent year-on-year. The previous record high was 9.61 mb/d in January, according to S&P Global Platts.
Natural gas production soaring. U.S. natural gas production is rising so quickly that inventories are rapidly building up. Stocks had dipped on strong demand this winter, but are now rising quickly on huge production gains and mild spring temperatures. “The make-or-break point in the market is going to occur within the next two reports,” Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group, told Bloomberg. If inventory gains are “super high, I won’t be long gas.” He added that strong output gains could push natural gas prices down to $2.25/MMBtu.