Oil soars to 3-year high, as U.S. crude stockpiles drop

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Mr Tran pointed to the "wealth disparity" among Opec members such as Venezuela and Nigeria which required a much higher breakeven price for oil on a fiscal basis, necessitating cuts to remain in place for much of the year.

For next year, however, ING expects lower prices due to rising U.S. crude output, which has jumped by a quarter since mid-2016. All parties are looking to offset the USA shale boom that continues unabated.

Opec, which has been curbing output by 1.8 million barrels a day since January 2017, will need to "over-tighten the market rather than under-tighten the market", to keep U.S. shale from flooding the sector, said Michael Tran, managing director, global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets in an interview with The National in Abu Dhabi.

Also, Canada's Kinder Morgan admits that its planned Trans Mountain pipeline may be "untenable" due to resistance from BC.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil rallied to their highest level since late 2014 on Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed U.S. crude stockpiles declined last week and as traders continued to price in the possibility of supply disruptions in several key oil-producing nations.

Some senior Saudi officials are reportedly targeting $80 per barrel oil, and could argue for keeping the production caps in place to achieve that goal.

Opec's ministerial committee tasked with monitoring the group's supply-cutting deal with non-Opec countries, led by Russian Federation, meets in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Friday."Despite an oil price of over US$70 per barrel and the fact that the oversupply has been eliminated, a phase-out of the production cuts will not be on the agenda", Commerzbank oil analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

Oil surged to summits last seen in November 2014, with London Brent striking $74.74 per barrel and NY crude touching $69.56. "They need higher prices". After the deal, Saudi Arabia could return to the strategy they used in 2014, refusing to balance supply and pushing prices to multi-year lows by increasing output.

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As a result Brent crude oil futures at the London exchange have reached $74.44 per barrel.

Investors have taken a buying position in the market in the hope that the agreement will be extended and a global supply glut will be further reduced, analysts said.

OPEC and its partners meet on June 22 to review policy and before then a ministerial monitoring panel gathers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on April 20.

"Current oil prices are not justified by underlying oil fundamentals", they said. United States gasoline stocks fell by 2.968 million barrels to 235.967 million barrels, while distillate stocks fell 3.107 million barrels to 125.34 million barrels.

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The impression is that oil prices are seen as not yet high enough to encourage sufficient oil investment.

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