Here’s what’s really spooking oil: Barclays

Writing was on the wall for Ali al-Naimi: Barclays
Writing was on the wall for Ali al-Naimi: Barclays

A choking of global oil supply has come to the fore of investors' minds, pushing prices up for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate.

The risk of losing an estimated 2.5 million barrels of daily production has, for now, eclipsed the fact that global inventories are sloshing around at peak levels.

The wildfire in Canada that skirts tar sand oil sites has knocked out around 1 million barrels of production per day, according to Barclays.

But one analyst at the bank said Tuesday that Canadian supply is in fact secondary to investor minds.

"We could potentially see the Canadian supply, the close to 1 million barrels per day that's offline, come back over the end of this month if not the next.

"But it's the Nigeria one that's really spooking markets given that's close to 400,000-500,000 barrels per day which is only expected [back] after July now," said oil analyst, Miswin Mahesh.

In Nigeria, a group known as the Nigerian Delta Avengers, has reportedly taken out a critical piece of underwater equipment at Chevron's offshore 'Okan' facility.

Chevron has acknowledged that the facility is now shut and the disruption has stopped extraction of roughly 90,000 barrels per day.

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In a note, Barclays said the breach at the Okan facility marks the third major attack on Nigerian oil assets in 2016.

Earlier in the year, Forcados and Brass River operations were disrupted due to damaged infrastructure, taking more than 300 thousand barrels per day offline.

And according to various media reports, the series of attacks on the country's oil infrastructure has stymied crude production in Nigeria to a near 22-year low.

On their website, the Nigerian Delta Avengers calls on all Niger Deltans to 'take the war to all oil installations in their various communities, because this is your war'.

The group claims it is fighting to liberate its local people and says its major goal is to cripple the Nigerian economy.

As for where global prices go now, Mahesh says he expects to see some selling.

"One would have thought with these sizable outages we could have seen the momentum keep growing.

"But because positioning in the market has been stretched going into this, there are a few investors looking at this moment to exit."