Crude Oil Prices – Weekly Outlook: March 12 – 16

© Reuters.  Crude oil prices score a gain for the week © Reuters. Crude oil prices score a gain for the week – Oil prices rallied sharply on Friday, scoring a weekly gain, as traders cheered data showing the number of U.S. oil rigs fell for the first time in seven weeks, pointing to a potential slowdown in domestic oil output.

Improved appetite for risk-sensitive assets in the wake of strong U.S. jobs data and news of a potential U.S.-North Korea meeting also contributed to oil’s price rise.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April delivery surged $1.92, or 3.2%, to close at $62.04 a barrel.

The U.S. benchmark slipped to a three-week low of $59.95 on Thursday, as investors worried over soaring U.S. output levels.

Meanwhile, May Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., jumped $1.88, or roughly 3%, to settle at $65.49 a barrel.

For the week, WTI crude rose 1.3%, while Brent gained 1.7%.

The number of oil drilling rigs fell by four to 796 last week, General Electric (NYSE:GE)’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.

That marked the first such decline in seven weeks, suggesting the possibility of a fall in future output.

That came after data on Wednesday showed U.S. oil production, driven by shale extraction, rose to an all-time high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), staying above Saudi Arabia’s output levels and within reach of Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer.

Analysts and traders have recently warned that booming U.S. shale oil production could potentially derail OPEC’s effort to end a supply glut.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, have been restraining production by 1.8 million bpd to curb the market of excess supply. The arrangement, which was adopted last winter, expires at the end of 2018.

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 and how fast output levels will continue to rise.

Oil traders will also focus on monthly reports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties and the International Energy Agency to assess global oil supply and demand levels.

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


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is to issue a monthly update on shale-oil production levels


The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies.


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

Later on, the U.S. EIA is to release weekly data on oil and gasoline stockpiles.


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

The U.S. government will publish a weekly report on natural gas supplies in storage.


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