Brent crossed the $70 bpd mark on Thursday, April 4. Although it slipped back slightly on Friday, the upward trend is expected by oil experts to be sustained. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that President Donald Trump is taking an active part in the deliberations on oil pricing on world markets. He is quoted as commenting that he sees $65 bpd as the optimum price. However, the rate is being pushed up by three world trends:
- On Friday, April 5, new US sanctions were imposed on the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in order to stem oil exports to Cuba.
- US Congress has begun deliberating a NOPEC bill which is designed to make OPEC, the international cartel of leading oil producing nations, subject to American anti-trust lawsuits. Saudi Arabia, the dominant voice in OPEC, reacted angrily that if this bill passed into law, Riyadh would fight back by halting oil sales in dollars and moving to other currencies. A source in Riyadh commented: “Let the Americans pass NOPEC and it would be the US economy that would fall apart.”
- Libya is on the brink of its civil war surging into full-spate conflict. Gen. Khalifa Haftar has ordered his Libyan National Army to advance on the capital, Tripoli, seat of the National Accord Government approved by the UN. The LNA’s advance was slowed down on Friday, April 5, by an opposing force. But Haftar is expected to persevere in his objective, thereby sparking a resurgence of Libya’s civil war. Any interruption in Libya’s oil exports would have the effect of sharply pushing prices up.