Oil prices down after lower-than-expected inventory draw

Saudi Arabia announces rise in oil, gas reserves

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said on Wednesday he was confident that supply cuts started in late 2018 by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some allies, including Russian Federation, aimed at reining in oversupply would bring the oil market into balance.

The Kingdom plans to ship about 7.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, down from 7.2 million bpd in January.

OPEC and its allies decided last month to cut their overall output by 1.2 million bpd starting January to shore up sliding prices. It is the third biggest producer after the United States and Russian Federation with around 10.6 million barrels per day.

After a turbulent final quarter in 2018, oil prices have been supported in the first week of 2019 by cuts from OPEC producers and Russian Federation.

Brent and the world´s other benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate, both slumped late past year to 18-month lows of $49.93 and $42.36 per barrel respectively.

An independent audit of Saudi Arabia's hydrocarbon reserves is a positive step for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco and will pave the way for the state-owned oil producer to sell worldwide bonds to fund mega acquisitions, analysts said.

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He mentioned an announcement "Wednesday by Saudi Arabia that it will cut its exports in January by 10 percent compared with November".

Saudi Arabia's gas reserves were also revised upward to 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet from 307.9 trillion.

It said the new figures have been backed by an independent third-party certification by leading consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton (D&M).

Crude oil prices were slightly down at the start of trading on Tuesday, despite reports that Saudi Arabia cut its crude exports to help boost prices.

Falih said Saudi oil remains among the cheapest in the world to extract, at only $4 a barrel.

A trade agreement could mitigate the global economic slowdown and keep global oil demand high; however, failure to reach a deal would worsen economic growth prospects and keep a downward pressure on oil demand and prices, according to experts.

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