1990 world oil market chronology

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  • August: Crude and product prices soar upward; exchange markets react wildly to any Middle East news events; cash markets dominate prices after trading hours; jet fuel prices rise to record spreads over other products due to increase in defense demand. In late August, OPEC president fails to revive floundering attempts to organize a formal OPEC meeting to discuss crisis/production strategies. Informal meetings held in Vienna result in record price falls. Conflicting reports of promises to increase OPEC output to compensate for embargo of Iraq and Kuwait oil further compound market uncertainties.
  • August 2: Iraq invades Kuwait. Bush orders troops to Saudi Arabia.
  • August 27: Market prices plunge as OPEC nears informal agreement to increase output to cover 4 MMB/D shortfall due to invasion. Cash market trading experiences abrupt decline.
  • September 6: U.S. citizen is shot in Kuwait. API reports 4.4 MMB weekly draw in domestic crude stocks. Oil markets surge on aggressive U.S. statements toward Iraq.
  • September 21: Reports that U.S refinery problems will lead to a 200,000 B/D loss in capacity and aggressive remarks by Saddam Hussein send crude prices to new highs.
  • September 24: Iraq invades the French and Dutch missions in Kuwait; French President François Mitterrand called the action a violation of international law; a U.S. warship boards an Iraqi-flagged tanker bound for the port of Basrah.
  • September 18: Crude prices outpace increases in product prices and there is talk of cutting refinery runs.
  • September 20: Poor refining margins.
  • September 24: Saddam Hussein states his willingness to strike first and his intention to damage oil fields in the region if Iraq does strike.
  • October 1: Saddam Hussein says he may be willing to negotiate the occupation of Kuwait and would consider foreign participation in negotiations.
  • October 3: API reports a 9 MMB weekly U.S. crude inventory draw.
  • October 9: Fear of war and long-term supply disruptions as Hussein threatens Israel.
  • October 10: API reports crude inventories dropped by more than 4 MMB in the last week.
  • October 11: Libya's Muammar Gaddafi says Israel must be eliminated, and UK Foreign Secretary Hurd says force would be used if Iraq doesn't withdrawal from Kuwait.
  • November 5: Reports of increasing Saudi production and lower world demand.
  • November 6: Iran's oil-producing region suffers a serious earthquake.
  • November 7: API reports 5 MMB U.S. crude inventory weekly increase.
  • November 8: Unconfirmed rumors that Bush would announce an airlift of supplies to U.S. embassy in Kuwait, which could ultimately trigger a military clash.
  • November 13: Saudis ask U.S. for rights to bid on SPR crude.
  • November 19: Report that Iraq will bolster its forces in Kuwait.
  • November 20: API reports crude inventory drop in U.S. of more than 4 MMB; Saddam Hussein announces plans to release German hostages; Soviet Union shows reluctance to endorse the use of force against Iraq.
  • November 21: French President Mitterrand voices support of a proposed U.N. resolution that would authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf.
  • November 26: U.S. proposes addition to U.N. resolution that would require Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait by January 1.
  • November 29: U.N. Security Council approves U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing the use of force in the Persian Gulf if Iraq does not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991.
  • November 30: President Bush offers to send Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Hussein.
  • December 4: An Iraqi official reports that Iraq will withdraw if it can retain control of the Rumailah field and keep Bubiyan and Werbah islands; also says that demands that the Palestinian issue be treated separately would not be surmountable.
  • December 5: Iraq announces willingness to speak with U.S. about resolving the Persian Gulf crisis.
  • December 13: Secretary of State Baker questions Iraq's seriousness about Middle East peace.
  • December 18: Bush reiterates his "no concessions" stance against Iraq.
previous year:
1989 world oil market chronology
This article is part of the
Chronology of world oil market events (1970-2005)
following year:
1991 world oil market chronology