Markets

IHS CERAWeek: IEA chief says global oil demand 'not peaking'

Crude oil prices fell in Asian trading on Monday, damaged by the impact of a consistent growth in USA rig counts over the last seven months.

The deal went into force in January, but was brokered in November when OPEC still counted Indonesia as a member state.

Oil prices fell this morning as investors anxious China will cut oil demand after it reduced its growth target for 2017 to its lowest level for more than 20 years yesterday.

Novak gave a high rating to the outcome of talks with Saudi Arabia's energy minister. Latest weekly data from oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. showed the number of rigs drilling for oil in the USA rose by seven to 609.

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On a related note, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak told CERAWeek earlier in the session that the Kremlin will achieve a 300,000 bpd production cut by the end of April.

The oil market's failure to break out of the tightest range in more than a decade is sapping investor interest. In the US, producers added more rigs last week, extending a drilling surge into a 10th month, Baker Hughes Inc. said.

"They've gone so far on hopes and dreams", Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts, said by telephone. Better prices could stir a new round of merger activity, according to some analysts.

That newfound investment vigor and projections for stronger shale production have kept a lid on the recovery.

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Meanwhile, figures from Russia's energy ministry released last week showed February oil output was unchanged from January at 11.11 million barrels per day (bpd), casting doubt on its moves to rein in output as part of a pact with oil producers previous year.

BHP Billiton has boosted investment in its shale operations since last fall, forecasting the sector to become the single largest generator of cash flow for its petroleum business within five years.

"If we don't start to get big inventory draws soon this market is in big trouble", Bill O'Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $6.1 billion, said by telephone.

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