Thursday, 20 July, 2017

WTI, Brent crude oil futures settle higher

Opec left itself vulnerable to the quick return of US shale oil and the recovery of production in exempt members. Ramzi Boudina  Reuters Opec left itself vulnerable to the quick return of US shale oil and the recovery of production in exempt members. Ramzi Boudina Reuters
Debra Rodriguez | 04 July, 2017, 01:20

Brent fell 0.1% to $48.71 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange in late morning trade in Europe.

US crude futures have slumped about 15 percent so far this year to about $46 per barrel, and as of Friday, ended its worst half-year performance in 19 years.

Data from Baker Hughes released on Friday showed that the number of active US rigs drilling for oil declined by two to 756 rigs this week. Firstly, several years of increases in U.S. production, which is now back to peak levels due to shale production, and the resultant global market share gains for the country, have come at the expense of Opec members.

He commented, 'Crude oil prices fell all the way back to their pre-production cut lows of November a year ago over the past month. The drop was by two rigs and the government data indicated that crude production dropped in in April, which is the first in this year.

Taking Dubai oil as a benchmark, prices so far in 2017 are 25 percent above last year's $41 average, while OPEC production in the same time is 2 percent, or 700,000 bpd, below 2016's average, he said.

August US crude oil (XLE) (XOP) (BNO) (SCO) prices have fallen 13.4% in the past year.

The price of the WTI crude last Thursday appreciated marginally to US$45.10; below expectations thus discounting the OPEC and non-OPEC cuts.

But on Monday some investors said the rally may have gone too far, with an increase in Libyan crude production reminding them of the abundance of oil.

The price of WTI is down $6.29 (12.02 percent) this year, and the average price is $49.95. The growing concern is that rising Non-Opec output, led by the United States is increasingly offsetting the reduced Opec production. Trading volume was low ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend. The contract gained $1.11 to $46.04 on Friday to the highest since June 13.

Goldman's warning that rising supply would offset expected inventory declines and weigh on oil prices comes after Bank of America Merrill Lynch and oil and gas consultancy FGE said that oil prices are headed into the US$30s if OPEC doesn't make steeper cuts. OPEC said that Russian Federation and 10 other non-OPEC countries on Saturday said that they will bring a reduction in oil production by more than 5.0 million barrels per day to stop the significant decline in income. Libya, like Nigeria, is exempted from the cuts deal, though its oil production and exports remain vulnerable to disruptions by armed factions and restive workers.

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