Business

Oil Price Rises Above $68, Highest Since 2015

Oil Price Rises Above $68, Highest Since 2015

Domestic demand was also higher: USA product supplied for crude oil and petroleum products was at the highest level since 2007.

Prices have risen as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russian Federation work to reduce global inventories through output reductions and amid concerns over the stability of the group's third-biggest producer, Iran.

OPEC, supported by Russian Federation and other non-members, begun to hammer out a deal to cut supplies again in 2016, aiming to lift prices by removing a glut built up in the previous two years. But prices have rallied almost 50 percent since the middle of the year on robust demand and strong compliance with the production limits.

"The crude oil inventory number was pretty healthy relative to consensus", Brian Kessens, who helps manage $16 billion in energy assets at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC, said by telephone.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was unchanged at as high as $68.2.

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 292,000 barrels per day.

As if to herald what might really take place later this year, and again contrary to Sen's concerns, US production rose to 9.78 million bpd in the latest week according to the Energy Information Administration - and this plus weaker refined products demand caused West Texas Intermediate on Friday to drop 57 cents to $62.21 and Brent to fall 45 cents to $67.62 per barrel. Brent broke through $67 this week for the first time since May 2015.

Sources OPEC BP and EIA
Sources OPEC BP and EIA

USA output is up nearly 16 percent since mid-2016.

Despite relatively high USA crude oil production, curtailments in production by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and robust global demand supported crude oil price increases in 2017, EIA said.

US crude inventories fell to 424.5 million barrels last week, while distillate supplies climbed by about 8.9 million barrels, the most since December 2016, the EIA said.

Byron Wien of Blackstone listed the prospect of USA crude topping $80 as one of 10 potential shockers for investors in 2018 in his annual list of surprises.

That is down 20 percent from peaks last March and close to the five-year average of 420 million barrels. "People are optimistic that there are some tailwinds behind the underlying crude oil price".

"Oil production disruptions (in Iran) remain a very distant threat. disruptions in the North Sea have been removed".

Libya is to start repairing the pipeline near the Es Sider terminal this weekend, a Libyan oil official said, while the Forties pipeline was already pumping close to normal levels, according to trading sources.

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