Oil prices were solidly higher Tuesday morning, following reports that Saudi Aramco plans to produce more than 12 million barrels per day starting April 1.
Prices rebounded following Monday’s more than 20% plunge, which saw U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and international benchmark Brent crude post their worst declines since 1991.
The moves came following a tumble in oil prices in the previous trading session. WTI and Brent dropped 24.59% and 24.1%, respectively, sinking to more than 4-year lows.
The steep sell-off came amid escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which traders fear could lead to an excess supply of crude.
Saudi, the world’s biggest oil exporter, plans to supply 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, well above current production levels of 9.7 million bpd, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday. April’s crude supply will be “300,000 barrels per day over the company’s maximum sustained capacity of 12 million bpd,” Nasser said in a statement received by Reuters.
On Friday, OPEC ally Russia rejected the additional 1.5 million barrel per day production cut that the 14-member cartel proposed. After the unsuccessful talks concluded, OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia on Saturday slashed its official oil prices as it reportedly gets set to ramp up production.
The current production cuts expire at the end of March, which means that beginning April 1 nations can pump as much oil as they want.
This potential supply glut comes at a time when prices were already suppressed thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. A slowdown in travel has already hit demand, and a global economic slowdown could depress oil further.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy said the Trump administration is monitoring the situation following oil’s steep slide.
“These attempts by state actors to manipulate and shock oil markets reinforce the importance of the role of the United States as a reliable energy supplier to partners and allies around the world. The United States, as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, can and will withstand this volatility. The growth of the unconventional oil and gas industry in the United States has led to a more secure, resilient and flexible market,” the statement said.
âCNBC’s Eustance Huang and Reuters contributed to this report.