Oil prices are set for a second consecutive weekly gain but the upside remains limited due to continued economic concerns, OilPrice said.

Oil prices are set to end the week with a slight gain after the market eventually priced in Saudi Arabia’s production cut extension into August as well as another steeper-than-expected US crude inventory drop, pushing ICE Brent closer to the $77 per barrel mark. The upside remains limited, however, as the prospect of another US interest rate hike becomes part of mainstream expectations, with the Fed minutes released this week confirming increases are still on the agenda. 

Speaking at the OPEC seminar held in Vienna, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said OPEC+ still has tools in their kit to flexibly manage supply and bemoaned the market’s reaction to production cuts, arguing it was “too big for people to comprehend”. OPEC looks for new members.According to OPEC secretary general Haitham al Ghais, OPEC has recently held consultations with four countries looking to potentially join the oil group, believed to be Azerbaijan, Brunei, Mexico, and Malaysia. 

US Navy averts capture of two tankers.The US Navy said it prevented Iran from seizing two commercial tankers, TRF Moss and Richmond Voyager, in the Gulf of Oman this week, using its guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul to fend off the confrontation with Iranian naval vessels. 

Venezuelan oil production fails to impress. In a blow to recently anointed oil minister Pedro Tellechea, Venezuela’s oil production recorded one of its first month-on-month declines in 2023, with June production coming in at 806,300 b/d, down more than 30,000 b/d compared to May. 

Libya on the brink of conflict again.The leader of Libya’s rival Benghazi government, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has threatened to block oil production and exports if the internationally recognized authorities in Tripoli fail to distribute oil revenues in a more equitable way. 

Oil majors eye creation of chemicals giant.ADNOC, the national oil company of the United Arab Emirates is in talks with Austria’s OMVto create a petrochemical giant from Borealis and Borouge, in which both have interests, with the valuation of the new entity exceeding $30 billion.