London — Saudi state oil giant Aramco and the UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will delay issuing their official selling prices for May crude exports until after the OPEC+ coalition holds its emergency meeting Thursday, industry sources familiar with the matter told S&P Global Platts on Sunday.
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Kuwait Petroleum Corp. will also push back its May OSPs, Reuters reported Kuwaiti oil minister Khaled al-Fadhel as saying.
OPEC and 10 allies are set to discuss potential production cuts via a webinar summit aimed at backstopping the oil market's dive due to the coronavirus pandemic and resolving a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Saudi Aramco typically sets its OSPs in the first week of each month, and is closely followed by ADNOC and other Middle East national oil companies.
Aramco sparked a 30% plunge in crude prices last month when aggressively slashed its April OSPs, in a salvo against Russia after the March 6 OPEC+ meeting ended in acrimony with no agreement on production cuts.
Traders anticipate Aramco dropping May OSPs again, based on plunging demand and the sharp drop in underlying reference markers for Middle East crudes in Asia, according to Platts' latest monthly OSP expectations survey.
Aramco's flagship Arab Light crude grade should see cuts of $1.50-$4/b for cargoes heading to Asia, while Arab Medium is expected to fall by $1.50-$2/b, the survey showed.
Meanwhile, official selling differentials for ADNOC's grades for May loading could be cut by around $2-$3/b, traders said in the survey.
ADNOC, which typically issues retrospective prices after the month of loading, departed from conventional methodology due to "unprecedented market conditions" last month. The company issued forward-looking price differentials for the first time, with price cuts matching or exceeding those by other Middle East producers, in a bid to remain competitive.
Saudi Aramco and other Middle East producers are understood to set their OSPs in line with the monthly change in the Dubai cash/futures spread. This key market indicator for spot market sentiment for Middle East crude fell more than $3/b month on month to average minus $3.11/b in March, Platts data showed.