Brent crude premium to WTI lures record USA flows

Sunday, 29 Oct, 2017

In post settlement trade, prices briefly pared gains before steadying, in response to data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showing crude inventories built up while gasoline and diesel drew down.

Brent crude was down 35 cents at $58.09 a barrel by 1335 GMT. The deal has already been extended through March 2018, but many market participants are now anticipating that it will be pushed even further out, something Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation - the world's two largest crude producers, favor, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

"If OPEC and their non-OPEC partners can agree to extend their production curtailments through 2018, then we estimate the oil market will remain in modest under-supply until 2019", USA investment bank Jefferies said.

Saudi Arabia and Russia-the world's two largest crude producers-want to extend the deal through the end of next year, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Oil was down earlier in the session as crude flows through Iraq's northern pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey rose further. Analysts had expected a fall of 2.6 million barrels.

Battle with shale: In separate comments, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser "says he does not spend much time worrying about booming production from US shale fields", according to CNBC.

Oil prices rallied on Friday, sending the global crude benchmark above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than two years and lifting the U.S. benchmark for the commodity to its highest finish in almost eight months.

This situation can be fixed as early as November 7 at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Answering a question on whether he supported extending the production cut agreement, Prince Salman said "of course" and insisted that Opec "need to continue stabilizing the market", fuelling investor expectations that support for prolonged cuts is growing among Opec members.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that total U.S. crude oil production will reach a new annual average record of 9.9 million barrels per day next year.

Since the start of October, Saudi oil exports to the US have been 3.2 million barrels below shipments from Iraq. It should be enough to send Brent crude oil soaring over $60.00.

Despite this bullish news, gains may be limited, however, because USA companies may continue to produce at a record pace.