March 21, 2018

Crude Stocks Rise, Fuel Stocks Drop, Oil Prices Steady

14 March 2018, 08:46 | Opal Carroll

Oil prices dip on relentless rise in US crude output

KazMunayGas kazakhstan workers maintenance oil field reuters

That compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2 million barrels.

U.S. crude stocks rose by 5 million barrels, the biggest jump since late January, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

Crude oil prices were up USD0.50 at USD61.21 a barrel Wednesday morning.

The oil price is still showing a 1% loss so far this week as concern grows about the ability of Opec and its partners to counter rapid growth in United States crude production, which is tipped to hit a record 11 million bpd before the end of the year. "The upward pressure on gasoline and diesel could outweigh the bearish crude numbers". Iran is pushing for prices at $60 a barrel, where Mr. Zanganeh says US oil production will remain under control and not flood the market.

On Nymex, oil product prices bucked the downtrend among most of energy peers, with April gasoline up 1.1% to $1.906 a gallon and April heating oil adding 0.1% to $1.875 a gallon.

Brent crude has fallen by around 1 percent so far this week, as traders and investors have grown increasingly doubtful that coordinated supply cuts by OPEC and some of its partners might not be enough to offset the relentless rise in US crude production.

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US oil production is expected to top 11 million bpd later this year.

"With the tug of war between the USA and OPEC the soap opera continues", said Scott Gecas, senior strategic account executive at Long Leaf Trading Group. As China's industrial economy continues to grow while domestic crude production falls, demand for crude oil should remain supported. Output has been helped by the 25% rise in oil prices over the past year, along with improvements in efficiency and technology.

The International Energy Agency and the EIA have both recently revised their US oil production forecasts higher.

If sanctions are reinstated, Iran's oil exports could drop by 250 000 to 500 000 barrels a day by the end of this year, FGE said in a note.

This is the first monthly report since OPEC began forecasting 2018 figures in July 2017 that its prediction of non-OPEC supply growth has exceeded its global demand forecast, Platts notes.

Moody's, however, maintained its price band for North American natural gas at Henry Hub, the industry's chief measure of natural gas prices, at US$2.50-US$3.50 per million British thermal units.

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