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Oil Pauses as US Output Crosses Milestone

02 February 2018, 09:10 | Lionel James

Daily March WTI Crude OilMore

WTI Crude Oil

In recent weeks we have been on tour, presenting our six-month proprietary outlook, and have been highlighting the case of another 100 million barrels - this time via the cumulative drop in Saudi crude exports over the previous year.

"Oil prices have come under pressure because of rising oil production in the US, together with a marginal rebound in the USA dollar index".

Crude still has support because of output cuts by large producers and strong demand.

Even the US Energy Information Administration's report Wednesday that US crude production reached 10.04 million b/d in November, the highest in 47 years, could be masking tightness in some parts of the market, independent analyst Anas al-Hajji said. The number of oil drilling rigs increased by 12, or 1.6 percent, to 759 units.

This news overshadowed a government report earlier in the week which showed us production at a 50 week high.

From an output perspective, the US shale sector has fully recovered from the price and output slump that started in 2014 and 2015. From 2000 through 2010, American production fluctuated between 4 and 6 million barrels per day, federal data show, before beginning a steady uptick at the beginning of this decade.

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Nymex West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark, rose 0.09% to $65.86 a barrel. Energy Department and industry experts expect that record to fall soon; they also expect the United States to overtake Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer by the end of next year when USA output is forecast to hit 11 million barrels a day.

"The decline in excess inventories was fast-forwarded in late 2017 by stellar demand growth, high OPEC compliance, heavy maintenance as well as collapsing Venezuela production", Goldman analysts Damien Courvalin and Jeff Currie said in the report.

We expect that global fuel market turns into steady mode at the moment. This is the highest level since November 1970, according to the monthly data collected by the state agency since 1920. WTI prices were about $60 a barrel in January 2018.

Yet, increasing output from the U.S. may threaten rising prices.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted a price forecast by a third and said global crude markets have probably rebalanced.

"Venezuela pulled OPEC production significantly below target in January", Commerzbank said in a note.



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