API reports surprise rise in United States oil inventories

Wednesday, 25 Apr, 2018

US crude oil production is forecast to grow by 1.4 Mbd, or 15 percent, this year to the highest annual average ever, and yet OPEC has still succeeded in boosting prices. Brent was still at $75 a barrel at 0311 GMT up 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, from its last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures finished Monday's session up 24 cents, at $68.64 a barrel, a new closing high dating to December 1, 2014.

Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said if crude oil prices continued to rise, there would be no need to extend a pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers aimed at bolstering prices, the ministry's official website, SHANA, reported.

This in turn has brought an extensive global oil saturation into balance in 16 months, even as US production has swelled to record levels. The low prices resulted in a dramatic drop in expenditures for finding and developing new sources of oil around the world so for the first time we are now consuming billions of barrels more oil each year than we are finding.

The most popular US grades in Europe are WTI, Light Louisiana Sweet, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Mars.

With crude climbing to levels not seen since 2014, commodity funds have recovered the client outflows they suffered a year ago. "Looks like OPEC is at it again", he said in his Twitter post.

The gains for U.S. suppliers could come as a welcome development for U.S. President Donald Trump, who accused OPEC on Friday of "artificially" boosting oil prices. "No good and will not be accepted".

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.7% at $69.10 a barrel.

US gasoline prices are at $2.77 on average and well above $3 a gallon on the West Coast.

Ole Hansen, head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank, said crude oil surged higher after emerging from several weeks of hibernation.

Nigeria is largely dependent on crude oil earnings for both government revenue and foreign exchange.

"The message implied by Brent's greater premium to WTI has been for USA producers to ship more crude overseas to offset OPEC's voluntary supply cuts and potential supply decreases elsewhere", Oil Futures Editor Geoffrey Craig said in the emailed commentary.

Opec's supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring just as demand in Asia, the world's biggest oil consuming region, has risen to a record as new and expanded refineries start up from China to Vietnam.

Still, it isn't hard to see how demand could support oil and gasoline prices and engender more USA inflation, putting further pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Although geopolitical risks and bullish oil demand growth projections now outweigh bearish factors, if money managers start to exit the extremely overstretched longs, the rally could come to an abrupt end. Still, with production in the U.S.at a record, investors are wary that expanding volumes from shale producers could thwart OPEC's efforts to eliminate the glut.