July, 12(Agencies) ——Prices for sour crude oil have climbed globally this month after top exporter Saudi Arabia hiked prices and expanded production cuts of higher-sulfur oil in the first sign its efforts to prop up global prices is having an impact.
The de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this month deepened its production cuts to 1 million barrels per day in response to benchmark prices that fell to below $72 a barrel this summer.
“The kingdom’s curbs have had an outsized impact on the supply of medium-and heavy-sour barrels,” Mark Rossano, a partner at energy data provider Primary Vision Network, said.
The increases – seen among North Sea, US and Canadian sour crude grades – have jumped as oil refiners in China, Europe and the US bid up dwindling supplies from sanctions on Russia and Saudi Arabia’s cutbacks, according to traders and brokers.
Also pushing up sour crudes are US government purchases to restock its emergency reserves, production outages from Canadian wildfires, and worries about potential for Atlantic hurricane season to cut production of US sour crude.
Most of Saudi Arabia’s crude oils, such as Arab Light, Medium and Heavy, are sour grades, a type that requires more complex refining and typically trades at a discount to sweet crude, which has lower sulfur content.