Oil prices fall on rumors of an OPEC split. Oil prices were relatively steady last week as inflation fears and rising inventories battled with optimism regarding China’s rebounding economy. Then rumors began to circulate that the UAE was considering leaving OPEC and oil prices dropped dramatically, OilPrices reported. 

China’s economic rebound has been the main bullish factor for oil prices this week, after the country’s PMI index surged to 52.6 in February, the highest reading since April 2012 and a sign of industrial activity coming back to life. The China bulls had buoyed oil markets to such an extent that their sentiment overshadowed growing inflation fears in the European Union and rising U.S. inventories. Then, on Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that the UAE had debated leaving OPEC and boosting production, which sent oil prices falling.

US eyes SPR refill soon. The US Department of Energy is seeking to start purchasing oil to partially refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserves depleted by rounds of releases across 2022-2023, with top officials indicating it might buy 40-60 million barrels within the next year, depending on market conditions. Saudi Aramco eyes LNG investment abroad.The Saudi national oil company Saudi Aramco is reportedly considering a major investment into LNG facilities outside of the kingdom, seeking to secure an offtake agreement after its 2019 deal with Sempra fell over.  

Energy-related CO2 emissions hit record high in 2022. The International Energy Agency stated that energy-related CO2 emissions rose to a record high of 36.8 million tonnes last year, up 0.9% compared to 2021, led by increases in coal and oil, with their year-on-year hikes coming in at 1.6% and 2.5%, respectively.