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Oil dives, sending U.S. crude below $50 for first time in two weeks


By Julia Simon | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Oil prices tumbled more than 2 percent on Friday, notching the biggest weekly decline in more than a month on mounting evidence that U.S. production and inventory growth were offsetting OPEC’s attempts to reduce the global crude glut.

Brent futures LCOc1 settled at $51.96 a barrel, down $1.03, or 2 percent at the market’s close. U.S. crude futures CLc1 ended at $49.62 a barrel, down 2.2 percent, or $1.09.

Volumes were heavy, with more than 665,000 WTI futures changing hands, surpassing the daily average of 525,000 contracts.

For the week, Brent fell 7 percent, while U.S. crude lost 6.7 percent. It was the largest percentage drop for both benchmarks since the week of March 10, when rising concern about the supply glut undermined big bets on an oil rally.

Those speculative bets have been on the rise again. On Friday, the U.S. Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) showed total long positions in U.S. crude rose in the week to April 18 to their highest in more than a month at 355,077 contracts. But oil has sagged in recent days, much as it did in March.

Many in the market still expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to renew its production cuts for another six months. On Friday an OPEC and non-OPEC member technical committee recommended extending cuts of almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) at the upcoming May 25 meeting.

Still, shipment data shows more oil transiting world oceans than when cuts were put in place.

“The reason that we’re seeing the selloff today and really for this week has been related to the fact that we’re seeing higher waterborne imports arriving from the Middle East,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipperdata.

“We should continue to remain well supplied at least over the next few weeks.”

In addition, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak declined to say whether Russia would adhere to an extension, saying global stocks were declining.

Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at Nordic bank SEB, does not expect OPEC to roll over its cuts, saying it could potentially leave the cartel vulnerable to “more stimulus of the U.S. shale oil sector.”

U.S. production, already at its highest since August 2015, looks likely to keep rising. U.S. drillers added rigs for a 14th consecutive week, Baker Hughes said on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso in London, Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio and Chizu Nomiyama)

Oil prices flatten as rise in US production weighs


Brent futures were at $52.93 barrel, unchanged from their last close. U.S. crude futures were down 9 cents at $50.50 a barrel.

Both benchmarks had traded more than 50 cents higher earlier in the day, but gains eased at the start of U.S. trading hours.

OPEC vs US output: What’s driving oil? 

“The U.S. market perhaps doesn’t believe in the oil market balance that OPEC would have us believe,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist with ABN AMRO.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signaled that an effort by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, to cut oil output was likely to be extended beyond June.

But bloated inventories weighed. Despite a drop in U.S. crude stocks last week, an unexpected 1.5-million-barrel build in gasoline stocks drove prices more than 3.5 percent lower on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil production rose to 9.25 million barrels per day, official data showed, up almost 10 percent since mid-2016.

Patrick Pouyanne, the chief executive of French oil and gas giant Total, said on Thursday prices could fall again by the end of the year due to a rapid increase in U.S. shale production.

“The rebalancing in U.S. crude stocks may have got under way, but concerns about further gasoline builds are rife even as the U.S. summer driving season shifts up a gear,” said Stephen Brennock, an analyst with PVM Oil Associates.

“With questions hanging over U.S. gasoline demand, any further product builds will act as a brake on the oil price recovery,” he said.

Global fuel stocks are well above the five-year average, and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was quoted on Thursday as saying inventories remained elevated in part because traders were selling supplies out of tanker storage.

In China, signs emerged that refiners were using record crude imports to produce more fuel such as gasoline and diesel than the country can absorb.

China’s March gasoline output rose 2.5 percent year-on-year to 11.24 million tonnes, the highest level since at least April 2014, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said, adding fuel into an Asian market that is already well supplied.

Oil near flat in strong week for crude

The Economic Times

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Thursday that drillers added 11 oil rigs in the week to April 13, bringing the total count up to 683. The number of U.S. rigs has increased for 13 consecutive weeks.

Oil near flat in strong week for crudeBy Julia Simon

NEW YORK: Oil prices were little changed in modest volume on Thursday, during a week in which crude benchmarks recouped more of March’s losses on increased hopes world supply and demand were nearing balance.

At the same time, the U.S. oil rig count rose to its highest level in two years, threatening the rebalancing of markets.

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Thursday that drillers added 11 oil rigs in the week to April 13, bringing the total count up to 683. The number of U.S. rigs has increased for 13 consecutive weeks.

The market has been oversupplied since mid-2014, prompting members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers to agree to cut output in the first six months of 2017.

With the increasing rig count pointing to rising supply, Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging, said OPEC would be watching.

“Ultimately OPEC is viewing it as a point of discussion in terms of whether or not they look to extend cuts,” Headrick said.

OPEC meets on May 25 to consider extending the cuts beyond June. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and most other OPEC members are leaning towards this if agreement is reached with other producers, OPEC sources told Reuters last month.

OPEC data showed members of the group had cut March output beyond the level they had promised.

Benchmark Brent crude futures settled up 3 cents to $55.89 a barrel after touching a one-month high on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled up 7 cents at $53.18 a barrel. Both benchmarks were set for a third consecutive weekly gain. About 431,000 U.S. crude contracts changed hands Thursday, short of the 531,000-contract average over the past 200 trading days.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday that supply and demand in the global oil market were close to matching after a fall in stockpiles in developed countries in March.

The IEA said oil stocks in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development industrialized countries fell by 17.2 million barrels in March, although inventories were still 300 million barrels above the five-year average.

“It can be argued confidently that the market is already very close to balance,” the agency said in its monthly report.

The IEA trimmed its oil demand growth forecast for 2017 by 40,000 barrels per day and warned that its revised level of 1.3 million barrels per day “could prove optimistic.” (Additional reporting by David Gaffen in New York, Karolin Schaps in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by

Oil prices hit one-month highs

Oil prices hit one-month highs as buyers stay upbeat

By David Gaffen | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Oil prices rose by 1 percent on Thursday, posting a fourth straight day of gains, but analysts remained cautious about record-high U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude futures settled up 53 cents, or 1 percent, at $54.89 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1.1 percent, or 55 cents a barrel, to $51.70.

The gains gave crude its highest close since a March 8 rout when investors bailed out of bullish positions due to concerns about supply.

Crude prices have been rebounding in the last two weeks from that decline. Refinery runs are starting to increase as the U.S. summer driving season approaches and gasoline inventories have been declining.

Yet U.S. government data still show crude inventories at record levels, prompting some analysts to grow concerned about speculators jumping back into the market after several weeks when they reduced positions in response to inventory figures.

“It’s hard to justify the move on the on back of fundamentals,” said Robert Yawger, director in energy futures at Mizuho.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a surprising increase of 1.57 million barrels in crude inventories, bringing total U.S. stocks to a record 535.5 million barrels.

U.S. oil production rose by 52,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.2 million bpd.

“The U.S. crude oil production profile is a mirror image of where it was last year, when at the end of the second quarter, production was 600,000 bpd lower than at the start of the year and this year is going to be the opposite,” said Olivier Jakob, at consultancy Petromatrix.

“By the end of the second quarter, you could have U.S. production up by 1 million bpd.”

Traders have been watching U.S. gasoline inventories as an indicator of what may happen with crude supplies. The latest data showed gasoline supplies at 239 million barrels, higher than any year at this point during this century other than last year.

Gasoline prices trailed the rest of the market on Thursday, with RBOB futures rising 0.8 percent to $1.7292 a gallon. Demand for gasoline traditionally picks up in the summer as the U.S. driving season gets going.

U.S. crude exports have risen to a record 1.1 million bpd. Most cargoes are going to Asia, where traders see signs of a tightening market due to efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut output.

Additional production could come back online in coming days, with the 350,000-bpd Syncrude oil sands project in Alberta, which cut production to zero after a fire, expected to restart operations in the first week of May, according to sources familiar with the matter.

(Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by Richard Chang and Meredith Mazzilli)

U.S. Crude Oil


UPDATE 10-Oil rises, near 1-month high; U.S. crude stocks seen down

* Brent, U.S. crude at highest since March 7
    * UK North Sea Buzzard field temporarily halted
    * Market watching for signs of tighter supply
    * U.S. crude stocks fell by 1.8 million barrels last week:

 (Adds U.S. inventory report in paragraph 7)
    By Scott DiSavino NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - Oil prices on Tuesday rose to
a near one-month high, supported by an unplanned production
outage in the North Sea and expectations of a drawdown in U.S.
crude and product inventories.
    Brent <LCOc1> futures rose $1.05, or 2 percent to settle at
$54.17 a barrel. The move higher came after the global benchmark
broke above its 100-day moving average, a key resistance level,
putting the contract into technically overbought territory for
the first time since the end of December.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude <CLc1>, meanwhile, gained
79 cents, or 1.6 percent, to settle at $51.03 per barrel.
    Both contracts ended the day at their highest levels since
March 7. They hit four-month lows late last month but have
recovered 9 percent since then on expectations the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers
would cut output under an agreement reached last year.
    "OPEC compliance is still holding better than we expected
with next week's release of various monthly agency reports
likely to confirm," Jim Ritterbusch, president of Chicago-based
energy advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note.
    In the North Sea, production of crude oil from Britain's
180,000 barrel per day Buzzard field was temporarily halted
while repair work is carried out at an onshore processing
terminal, trading sources said, noting normal output should be
restored in the coming day or two. [nL5N1HC3ZC]
    Meanwhile, U.S. crude stocks fell by more than expected last
week, dropping by 1.8 million barrels compared with analysts'
expectations of a 435,000 barrel decline, according to data
released late Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute.
[API/S] [nZXN04ZI00]
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration will issue its
inventory figures on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
    "U.S. product stocks need to be watched closely, since they
have fallen massively over the last few weeks," said Carsten
Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
    Yet global inventories remain high. UBS analyst Giovanni
Staunovo said OPEC was taking longer than expected to tighten
the oil market but recent data suggested the process was now
well under way.
    "We believe the implemented production cuts will trigger a
material drawdown in OECD oil inventories and thus higher crude
oil prices," Staunovo said, referring to the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development.
    "We expect Brent oil prices to rise above $60 a barrel in
three months," Staunovo said.

 (Additional reporting by Christopher Johnson in London and Jane
Chung in Seoul; Editing by Marguerita Choy; Editing by David
Gregorio and Andrew Hay)

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/update-10oil-rises-near-1month-high-us-crude-stocks-seen-down-20170404-01253#ixzz4dMDoH0Y1

Crude Oil Stocks Set Record

Crude oil inventories jumped to a new record last week, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), causing prices on the futures market to decline. Since the beginning of 2017, inventories have increased 10 out of 11 weeks.

Oil inventories in the U.S. rose 50 million barrels to 533,110 million barrels since the first week in January, according to EIA’s report issued on March 22. Crude oil inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose 1.4 million barrels, the EIA said.

Prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped to around $47 in response to the news.

Speculators attributed the rise in stock to an increase in U.S. oil production and a rise in oil imports. However, worldwide supplies appear to be smaller than they were a year ago, while demand is picking up. Production from OPEC members has declined since January. Demand in two key countries – China and India – increased in February.

Declining oil production and increased demand on the international markets appear to have softened the blow to crude oil prices in the U.S. Brent crude, which is traded in London, closed above $50 a barrel for the first time since November 30, closing at $50.64 per barrel on March 22. Refinery runs rose 329,000 barrels per day as utilization rates jumped 2.3 percentage points to 87.4% of capacity, led by higher runs at Gulf Coast and Midwest refiners. Gasoline stocks fell 2.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 2 million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.9 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.4 million-barrel drop, according to EIA data.

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.  The opinions expressed are solely of the author.

Weekly Outlook for Crude Oil

Crude Oil Futures – Weekly Outlook: March 13 – 17

© Reuters. Oil books a weekly loss of just over 9% amid glut concerns© Reuters. Oil books a weekly loss of just over 9% amid glut concerns

Investing.com – Oil futures settled at the lowest level since the end of November on Friday, booking a weekly loss of around 9% as concern over rising shale production and record-high U.S. crude inventories offset optimism that OPEC and its allies have been following through on their commitment to cut production.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract touched a session low of $48.31 a barrel on Friday, a level not seen since November 30. It was last at $48.49 by close of trade, down 88 cents, or about 1.8%.

The U.S. benchmark lost $4.84, or almost 9%, on the week, its biggest weekly drop in five months.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for May delivery slumped 82 cents, or about 1.6%, to settle at $51.37 a barrel by close of trade. The global benchmark fell to $51.14 earlier, its cheapest since November 30.

For the week, London-traded Brent futures recorded a loss of $4.53, or 8.1%, the fifth straight weekly decline.

Concerns that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand pressured crude prices.

Data from oilfield services provider Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 8 last week, the eighth weekly increase in a row. That brought the total count to 617, the most since October 2015.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude supplies jumped by 8.2 million barrels last week to yet another all-time high of 528.4 million. It was the ninth straight weekly build in U.S. stockpiles, feeding concerns about a global glut.

Oil prices have been trading in a narrow $5 range around the low-to-mid-$50s over the past three months as sentiment in oil markets has been torn between rising stockpiles and increased shale production in the U.S. and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by output cuts announced by major global producers.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries made a strong start to lowering their oil output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day by the end of June, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels.

Kuwait is scheduled to host a ministerial meeting on March 26 comprising both OPEC and non-OPEC members to review compliance with the output agreement and to discuss whether cuts would be extended beyond June.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for April shed 2.4 cents, or about 1.5% to $1.600 on Friday. It ended down about 3.2% for the week.

April heating oil inched down 2.5 cents, or 1.7%, to finish at $1.503 a gallon, the lowest since November 30. For the week, the fuel lost roughly 5.7%.

Natural gas futures for April delivery rose 3.4 cents, or almost 1.2%, to $3.008 per million British thermal units. It posted a weekly gain of 6.4%.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Meanwhile, investors will keep an eye out for monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency to gauge global supply and demand levels.

Traders will also continue to pay close attention to comments from global oil producers for further evidence that they are complying with their agreement to reduce output this year.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Tuesday, March 14

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties will publish its monthly assessment of oil markets.

Later in the day, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.

Wednesday, March 15

The International Energy Agency will release its monthly report on global oil supply and demand.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.

Thursday, March 16

The U.S. government is to produce a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.

Friday, March 17

Baker Hughes will release weekly data on the U.S. oil rig count.

Crude Oil Prices Poised For A Breakout


Monday, Mar 6, 2017 3:14 pm +02:00

Short Term Strategies, Scalping, Price Action Analysis, and Risk Management

Talking Points:

  • Crude Oil Prices Poised For A Breakout
  • Daily Resistance Found at $55.67
  • Looking for additional trade ideas for crude oil & commodities markets? Read Our Market Forecast

Crude oil prices continue to trade off of yearly highs, but have failed to breakout significantly for the 2017 trading year. As such, traders continue to wait for a market catalyst to cause the commodity to breach key values of either support or resistance. Key news for this week includes the release of US employment data this Friday. Expectations for US NFP (Feb) is set at +190k, while the US Unemployment Rate is set to be released at 4.7%.

Technically the price of crude oil remains in an ongoing daily trading range, which is depicted below. Current daily resistance remains located at the January 3rd 2017 peak at $55.67. Alternatively, crude oil prices remain supported above the January 10th low at $51.34. As prices continue to ping between these values, traders may continue to reference these points for a potential market breakout.

Crude Oil Price, Daily Range with Average

Crude Oil Prices Poised For A Breakout(Created Using IG Charts)

Monday’s trading has prices in the middle of this $4.33 range. Currently short term momentum is pointed lower, with the price of crude remaining under the 10 Day EMA found at $53.63. If prices continue to decline this week, traders may look for crude oil to return to support and potentially breakout lower. In the event of a bearish breakout, traders may use a 1x extension of this range to find preliminary pricing targets near $47.01. Alternatively if prices remain supported, traders may look for crude oil to bounce and retest resistance at the standing 2017 high. In this scenario, bullish breakout targets for crude oil may be identified near $60.00.

In the event that prices fail breakout, traders may elect to trade the continuing range or look for opportunities elsewhere.

— Written by Walker, Analyst for DailyFX.com

A Global Glut is Ending

Crude oil rises after report shows drop in stockpiles

By Aaron Sheldrick | TOKYO

TOKYO Oil futures climbed nearly 1 percent on Thursday after data showed a surprise decline in U.S. crude stocks as imports fell, supporting the view that a global glut is ending.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract CLc1 had risen 50 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $54.09 a barrel by 0229 GMT.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up 51 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $56.35, although both benchmarks were still well within recent tight ranges.

Crude inventories fell by 884,000 barrels in the week to Feb. 17 to 512.7 million, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 3.5 million barrels, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Wednesday. [API/S]

That added to optimism earlier in the week when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said a deal with other producers including Russia to curb output was showing a high level of compliance.

However, for prices to break out of their trading ranges, the market needs to see signs that OPEC inventories are falling, said Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

“It’s a battle between how quick OPEC can cut without shale catching up,” Nunan said, referring to U.S. drilling in shale formations that has shown an upsurge after prices rose this year. [RIG/U]

“What OPEC really has to do is get the inventories down,” he said.

Eleven non-OPEC oil producers that joined the OPEC deal have delivered at least 60 percent of promised curbs so far, OPEC sources said on Wednesday, higher than initially estimated.

In the United States, crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub were down by 1.7 million barrels, while U.S. crude imports fell last week by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.398 million bpd, according to the API.

Official data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is scheduled to be released at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) on Thursday, a day later than normal because of a holiday Monday. [EIA/S]

“All attention now shifts to the EIA crude inventory figures due out this evening in the U.S., with the market looking for an increase of 3.4 million barrels,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA in Singapore.

“A big miss either way will set the short term direction for crude.”

(Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)

Oil Rebounds


Oil rebounds as US sanctions individuals and entities over Iran missile test

A worker stands next to a pump jack at an oil field Sergeyevskoye owned by Bashneft company north from Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia.
A worker stands next to a pump jack at an oil field Sergeyevskoye owned by Bashneft company north from Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia.

Oil prices recovered on Friday after the United States announced sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile test, and on signs big oil producers are cutting output.

The Trump administration on Friday rolled out new measures against 13 individuals and 12 entities following Tehran’s ballistic missile test.

U.S. President Donald Trump said “nothing is off the table” in dealing with the country, which has seen its oil exports surge after the lifting of international sanctions last year under the previous U.S. administration.

“The ‘trumperament’ of the new U.S. president is being tested by Iran and soon maybe also by Russia and China,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultancy PetroMatrix, said. “And that is adding some geopolitical support to crude oil.”

Shuaiba oil refinery south of Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Iran relationship a black swan for oil?   

Brent crude futures were up 27 cents at $56.83 a barrel by 1:07 p.m. ET (1807 GMT). Brent was on track to gain more than 2 percent on the week, its first significant weekly rise this year.

Front month U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 24 cents to $53.78 a barrel. For the week, the contract is up about 1 percent.

Prices held their gains after oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported U.S. drillers added 17 oil rigs in the last week. The count has been recovering since June and now stands at 583 rigs, compared with 467 rigs last year.

Comments by Russian energy minister Alexander Novak that oil producers had cut their output as agreed under a deal with OPEC, also helped to support prices, analysts said.

Russia’s Novak said that Russian companies might cut oil production more quickly than required by its deal with Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) late last year.

He said that 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) was cut from global oil output last month as part of the deal.

Prices briefly pared gains after the official start of the day session, reflecting pent-up selling pressure following the U.S. jobs report for January, according to John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.

“The energy market did not necessarily like the weak wage component of the employment report. Gasoline demand is already weak, due to higher prices, so that hurts energy disproportionately,” he told CNBC.

The U.S. Labor Department reported the United States added more jobs than analysts expected and the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent.

Here's how to play a rally in crude

Here’s how to play a rally in crude   

News that Norway restarted a field that produces 100,000 barrels per day also weighed on prices, Kilduff said.

Analysts said oil’s advance could run out of steam quickly. PVM Oil Associates noted the market “is sandwiched between supportive OPEC-led output cuts and the bearish impact of a resurgence in U.S. crude production.”

The prospect of more oil output from Nigeria and also from other non-OPEC producers such as Brazil also looms.

“Record speculative length threatens to trigger a sharp price fall as unease builds amid the ongoing wait for a conclusive upside breakout,” Commerzbank said in a note.

— CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.