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OPEC Reference Basket - December 2016

Source: OPEC 1/3/2017, Location: Europe

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In a very volatile month for crude oil, the ORB wiped out almost all its previous month’s gains to end November close to 10% lower. Oil prices trended down sharply a few days after having reached a 15-month high in response to the OPEC decision in Algiers (the Algiers Accord) at the end of September, which was designed to bring forward market rebalancing. During the two weeks following the agreement, uncertainty regarding its implementation set off a sharp decline in oil prices. A substantial increase in global oil supplies, in a market already awash in oil, also contributed to this price drop. Oversupply in oil came from an all-time high level of output by most major crude oil producers, as well as the return of lost production from turbulent areas and from planned oil field maintenance. The surprise result of the US presidential election, and the increase in the US dollar that accompanied it, also contributed to the deterioration in oil prices seen in November.

Nevertheless, by the end of the month, the highly-anticipated announcement of a supply adjustment by OPEC of around 1.2 mb/d for the first time since 2008 – with scope for cooperation from non-OPEC – sent the oil market soaring by more than 18%, lifting the ORB value to its highest this year. On 2 December, the ORB value reached nearly $50/b for the first time since October last year.

On a monthly basis, the ORB plunged by $4.65 to average $43.22/b in November, down 9.7%. Compared to the previous year, the ORB was also lower by $11.17, or 21.9%, to average $39.80/b y-t-d.

All ORB component values deteriorated over the month, along with relevant crude oil benchmarks. The related benchmarks – namely Dated Brent, WTI and Dubai – decreased in November by $4.61, $4.22 and $4.96, respectively.

The multiple-region-destination grades – Arab light, Basrah light, Iran Heavy and Kuwait Export – decreased $4.89 on average, or a hefty 10.3%, for the month to $42.46/b. The Middle Eastern spot components – Murban and Qatar Marine – saw their value deteriorate by $3.91, or 7.9%, to $45.75/b. The Latin American components of the ORB – Venezuelan Merey and Ecuador’s Oriente – were down by $2.99, or 7.1%, and $4.29, or 9.3%, respectively, to average $39.37/b and $41.69/b. The value of the light sweet ORB components from West and North Africa – Saharan Blend, Es Sider, Girassol, Bonny Light and Gabon’s Rabi – lost $4.81, or 9.7%, to $44.57/b. Indonesian Minas was also down 9.9%, or $4.48, for the month at $40.72/b.

On 13 December, the ORB stood at $52.39/b, $9.17 higher than its November average.

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