Oil spill threatens global economy

After the attacks on an oil complex in Saudi Arabia, Asia would be the region most affected by a sustainable rise in the price of oil.

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On the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, September 16th.
On the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, September 16th. SPENCER PLATT / AFP

After the attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil complex on Saturday (September 14th) in Saudi Arabia, there was still uncertainty in the markets on Tuesday morning, September 17th. The price of the barrel of Brent, which refers to the world level, was slightly higher at the opening, to 68.15 dollars (61.90 euros). Monday, September 16, he jumped 14.6%. A flight of historic magnitude.

US markets closed in the red on Monday, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange began Tuesday's session down slightly. However, "The reaction of the markets has been relatively moderate and could be more important, considering the scale of the production capacities affected", observes Sara Vakhshouri, president of the consulting firm SVB Energy International, located in the United States.

The attacks reduced Saudi production by more than half, which corresponds to 5% of the world supply. That's a loss of 5.7 million barrels a day. Riyad assured Monday that the country could quickly restore a third of its production. But, according to the Bloomberg agency, quoting a Saudi official, it will take "Weeks or even months" before a full return to normal.

Risk of shortage a priori excluded in the short term

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has reserves in Japan, the Netherlands and Egypt. According to the consulting firm Rystad Energy, the stocks of the world's largest crude exporter account for around 26 days of exports. Several countries also have national reserves, like France, which has the equivalent of three months of stocks in its various deposits.

If the risk of shortage is therefore a priori excluded in the short term, it is difficult to predict the impact of this climate of uncertainty on the price level. "The market underestimates the risk of conflict in the Gulf," explained, before the summer, the analyst Helima Croft of RBC Capital. The vulnerability of Saudi installations has put the geopolitical issue at the center of concerns. Nothing says that such an attack will not happen again. Or that a Saudi response would not affect regional oil production.

"Nor can one rule out the assumption that Saudi Arabia overplayed the scale of the attack in a context where the market was likely to be in surplus", says Philippe Chalmin, professor at Paris-Dauphine University and director of the report Cyclops in global commodity markets. The International Energy Agency predicted lower oil demand due to weaker global growth in 2020, coupled with an increase in production in non-member states of the Organization of Exporting Countries. oil.


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