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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

As U.S. Shale Seeps Into Top Oil Market, Saudis Hone Defense - Bloomberg

As U.S. Shale Seeps Into Top Oil Market, Saudis Hone Defense - Bloomberg:
"As Saudi Arabia goes on a shock and awe attack to curb a global oil glut, it’s also playing defense to hold on to its most prized customers.

The kingdom is largely sparing Asia from reductions in crude sales, at least for now. That’s amid the threat of more U.S. and European supply coming to the world’s biggest market, as Saudi-led production cuts have boosted the Middle East oil benchmark relative to other regions. Also, crude’s surge risks reviving shale output while American shipments are already making their way to countries including Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

While OPEC’s biggest member could yet curb some volumes to Asia in coming months, it’s unlikely to completely abandon the battle for market share even as it changes tack from its pump-at-will policy of the past two years. It’s counting on regional refiners’ inability to completely switch over to rival supply, as their plants are geared to process ‘sour’ sulfurous crudes like those produced by Saudi Arabia rather than ‘sweet’ shale or North Sea oil. It can afford to cut sales more significantly in other places that aren’t as valuable as Asia.

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