Saudi demand views lift oil prices

Brent, WTI both up by double digits for April.

By Daniel J. Graeber

NEW YORK, April 27 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices edged higher in Monday trading after Saudi officials said Monday there would be ample oil on hand to meet China's growing demand.

Brent crude oil edged up a fraction of a percent in Monday trading to $65.37 per barrel for the June contract. Brent crude oil, which topped $100 per barrel in June 2014, remains traded in a bear market, but gained nearly 18 percent since the start of April.


Crude oil prices remain depressed in a market favoring the supply side. Saudi Arabia has maintained a high level of oil production despite the slump, arguing it needs to protect its market share in an economy in flux because of the glut of U.S. oil.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said at a meeting Monday in Beijing his country was a reliable partner to the Chinese economy.

"[We are ready] to supply China with any additional quantities [of oil] it needs," he said Monday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in its latest monthly market report said about 60 percent of the oil demand growth this year would come from Asian economies like China.


Saudi officials in Beijing said Monday any claims that oil was fading from the global marketplace was a "denial of economic reality."

The low price of oil has forced most energy companies to spend less on exploration and production. A daily brief last week from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the weak crude oil market could make some U.S. projects "uneconomic" in 2015.

The price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for oil, rallied nonetheless in early Monday trading. WTI for June delivery was up a fraction of a percent in early Monday trading to $57.41 per barrel. WTI is up 20 percent since the start of April.

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