Friday, 26 April, 2019

Oil prices to stay low as U.S. increases crude output

Oil price TUMBLES: Crude falls as concern grows over weakening US demand Oil climbs 1pc on OPEC output cut, but US production robust
Lloyd Bates | 22 January, 2019, 00:15

Just months earlier, they had relaxed production caps as prices shot higher on market worries about the impact of United States sanctions on Iran, but Washington eventually granted waivers allowing several countries to continue to import Iranian oil.

Oil prices fell about 2 percent on Thursday, extending recent weakness on concerns over surging USA crude production and slack global demand, particularly in light of the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China.

Non-OPEC oil production growth is set to slow in 2019, Trend reports citing the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Researchers at Bernstein Energy said the supply cuts led by OPEC "will move the market back into supply deficit" for most of 2019 and that "this should allow oil prices to rise to U.S. $70 per barrel before year-end from current levels of US$60 per barrel".

During the 4th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, an agreement was reached to increase oil production by one million barrels per day. At the same time, the shale-oil boom is continuing unabated in the US, which by the middle of the year will be producing more crude than either Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation is able to. "The oil industry can not afford to relapse into another downturn", he said in reference to a 2014-2016 oil market slump.

In the United States, energy firms cut 21 oil rigs in the week to January 18, taking the total count down to 852, the lowest since May 2018, energy services firm Baker Hughes said in a weekly report on Friday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its monthly market report cut its forecast for the average demand for its crude in 2019 to 30.83 million bpd, down 910,000 bpd from the 2018 average.

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This doesn't mean that the U.S.is not importing large volumes of crude and petroleum products; rather, it means that exports of crude oil and oil products are continuously rising.

Stronger spreads suggest OPEC's cuts have succeeded in shifting market expectations about the outlook for 2019.

Brent crude oil futures were down $1.06, or 1.7 percent, to $60.26 a barrel by 11:03 a.m. EST (1603 GMT).

Despite renewed hopes that a trade deal could be reached between the USA and China by the March 2 deadline, it may still not be enough to offset the negative impact on China's economic growth. After closing out 2018 in free-fall, US crude prices have rebounded more than 18 percent to start this year.

The data, however, showed that the annualized fourth-quarter growth rate slowed to 6.4 percent, as expected.

The IEA, which coordinates the energy policies of industrial nations, said it was keeping its estimate of oil demand growth for this year unchanged at 1.4 million barrels per day, close to 2018 levels. In November, waivers were announced for eight major Iranian oil importers, among them China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy, and Greece. This year, America's crude oil production is expected to average 12.1 million bpd in 2019, while crude production in 2020 is seen averaging 12.9 million bpd, with most of the growth coming from the Permian.

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