Markets

WTI oil futures struggle despite surprise draw in crude inventories

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories fell by 2.166 million barrels in the week ended April 7.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, forecast a 1.3 million-barrel fall in US crude supplies, a 3.7-million-barrel decrease in gasoline stocks and a 1.6-million-barrel fall in distillate inventories, for the week ended April 7.

Last year OPEC and external producers including Russian Federation committed to eliminate about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day in a bid to rebalance the oil market and raise petroleum prices.

Brent crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.36 per cent, at their highest since early March at $56.43 per barrel at 0656 GMT.

The US oil data followed bullish reports from OPEC nations, which said they had cut March output beyond what they had promised, according to figures the group published in a monthly report.

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Prices began to pullback in the latter part of the session after OPEC's regular monthly report raised its supply forecast for non-members, thanks in part to a huge upswing in shale oil production.

Based on direct communications with Nigeria, OPEC said the country's production levels were still around 1.269 million barrels per day.

"U.S. production rose 36,000 barrels per day, the most since January 2016 and the Baker Hughes rig count of 672 is the highest since August 2015".

While the OPEC secondary sources said Saudi output rose in March to 9.994 million bpd, Saudi Arabia reported to OPEC that it fell to 9.90 million bpd. It also voiced concern that the recovery of prices encourages shale oil companies to return to the competition, which harms OPEC efforts in reducing the supply.

Saudi Arabia, de-facto leader of oil cartel Opec, has told other producers that it wants to extend a co-ordinated production cut beyond the first half of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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In 2016, the United States was the world's largest net exporter of refined products, with a significant portion of crude oil input to US refiners supporting those exports.

Saudi Arabia has cut more than it pledged, which has helped compensate for less stringent compliance by other signatories to the deal.

And in the United States, both production and inventories are surging.

American drivers jumping into their cars this summer for long-distance journeys are expected to buoy global oil demand, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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