By April 13, 2017 Read More →

Oil prices steady despite rise in US production

Oil prices

Oil prices were steady in modest trading on Thursday. BP photo.

Oil prices mostly steady in light trading on Thursday

Oil prices were mostly steady in modest trading on Thursday after a week that saw crude benchmarks recover from losses in March after reports that the global crude supply and demand were nearing balance.

Brent crude futures were down 22 cents to $55.64/barrel by 11:54 a.m. EDT, after reaching a one-month high on Wednesday.

US WTI futures set for a third consecutive weekly gain were up by 12 cents, rising to $52.99/barrel.

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency reported supply and demand in the global oil market were near to matching after a recent fall in crude stocks in developed countries was recorded in March.

OPEC data showed the cartel had cut its March output beyond the amount pledged.

However, US production has continued to increase with overall production rising to 9.24 million b/d, according to the US Energy Department.

Baker Hughes released its weekly rig count report on Thursday showing the number of US oil rigs increased for the thirteenth straight week.  This week, there were 683 oil rigs operational, 11 more than last week.

The Canadian oil rig count had fallen by two to 40.

John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York, told Reuters he expects that both onshore and offshore US production will to continue rise, creating a headwind for the market.

“There’s a lot more to come – and rapidly,” he said.

According to the IEA, OPEC oil stocks fell by 17.2 million barrels in March, but 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.

Also in its report, the IEA reduced its 2017 oil demand growth forecast by 40,000 b/d and warned that its revised level of 1.3 million b/d “could prove optimistic.”

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