Oil prices recover on big USA crude stock drawdown, pipeline shutdown supports


US crude was down 0.6% to $56.25. It had settled down $1.35, or 2.1 percent, on Tuesday on a wave of profit-taking after news of a key North Sea pipeline shutdown helped send the global benchmark above $65 for the first time since mid-2015. The S&P Global Platts survey forecast a supply rise of 1.6 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 500,000 barrels for distillates.

The authority said that at 443 million barrels, inventories of crude oil were in the middle of the seasonal average. The increase, according to the cartel, was a reflection on the continuing bullish oil market fundamentals and optimism that an extension to lowered production through next year would be agreed to by OPEC and non-OPEC in late November, which it was.

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Oil prices recover on big USA crude stock drawdown, pipeline shutdown supports

The market may have priced in the possible loss of 450,000 barrels per day of Forties crude, however, I don't think investors have priced in the possible impact of further increases in US production.

In trying to answer the question, we have been given an important signal by OPEC's decision on 30 November to extend their production cuts - assisted by ten non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation - until the end of 2018. For 2018 the IEA also reiterated its prior forecast for growth of 1.3 million barrels a day (1.4%) to a total of 98.9 million.

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In its monthly forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said it expects U.S. crude production to rise by an average of 800,000 barrels a day next year. Recently, US drilling activity and well completion rates have picked up again, suggesting higher production to come in a few months. The African member, which was exempt from cuts in the original OPEC and non-OPEC production agreement, is not expected to deliver more "surprises" in terms of supply gains in the renewed deal.

So, on our current outlook 2018 may not necessarily be a happy New Year for those who would like to see a tighter market.

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