Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Oil Bounces Back but Remains Near 2017 Lows

Posted by June 16, 2017

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) scanrail)

Despite pledge, OPEC and Russian oil supplies remain high.

Oil prices edged up from 2017 lows on Friday but remained on track for a fourth consecutive week of losses because of excess supplies, despite OPEC-led production cuts.
Brent crude futures were up 57 cents at $47.49 per barrel by 1224 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $44.85 per barrel, up 39 cents.
"The market took a breather yesterday and is trying to recover somewhat this morning. It is by no means bullish," said Tamas Varga, analyst at brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
Oil prices are more than 12 percent below where they were in late May, when producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) extended for nine months a pledge to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The cuts had been due to end this month and will now run till March.
Rising U.S. oil output has undermined the impact of OPEC-led cuts. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week showing growing gasoline stocks and shaky demand, despite the peak summer driving season, sent prices tumbling.
"It's going to be difficult to have a rally unless there's a disruption or some news from OPEC," said Olivier Jakob, managing director with PetroMatrix.
Recovering production from Libya and Nigeria, both of which were exempt from OPEC cuts, and high exports and production from Russia were also contributing to the glut. An excess is already building on ships in Asia.
Top producer Russia, not an OPEC member but which signed up to the cuts, is expected to export 61.2 million tonnes of oil via pipelines in the third quarter, equivalent to about 5 million bpd, against 60.5 million tonnes in the second quarter, according to industry sources and Reuters calculations.
In the United States, which is not participating in the deal to reduce production, oil output <C-OUT-T-EIA> has risen more than 10 percent in the past year to 9.3 million bpd. The EIA expects that to rise above 10 million bpd in 2018.
U.S. drilling rig counts due later in the day on Friday could add further pressure, if it shows more were added.
"Oil is unlikely to find solace into the weekend either, with tonight's Baker Hughes Rig Count expected to deliver its now weekly increase of operational rigs," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.
By Libby George

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