Oil prices have been boosted to within a couple of dollars of $50/B since mid-May as a series of unplanned outages brought the market close to balance, despite Opec’s continuation of its Saudi-instigated freewheeling output policy (MEES, 17 June). Saudi output is set to chalk up its record 16th straight month of 10mn b/d-plus in June (MEES, 24 June).

The US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) pegged unplanned outages at a record 3.6mn b/d in May including 800,000 b/d due to wildfires in Canada’s oil heartland of Alberta, where the EIA expects an average of 400,000 b/d to remain offline in June. This is a true left-field event. But outages in the key Opec countries of Libya and Nigeria look structural. (CONTINUED - 1171 WORDS)