Markets

OPEC wants collective efforts to counter U.S. oil output

OPEC wants collective efforts to counter U.S. oil output”

Mr Bake said prices were still languishing near $50 a barrel as a warm winter had weakened demand for heating fuels in the first quarter while global inventories of oil had not drawn significantly.

"We saw the biggest draw in (US) inventories for the year last week with stockpiles down more than five million barrels, and it looks like OPEC's production cut is finally biting", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at brokerage AxiTrader.

Crude oil production in Nigeria rose by 274,000 barrels per day last month, the biggest increase among its peers in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said it expects American crude production to rise by more than expected in 2017 to 9.31 million barrels per day from 8.87 million barrels per day in 2016, a 440,000 bpd increase.

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"Three months later [after the start of the OPEC cutback deal], we see the USA rig count double and it says 'this isn't the only driver in the market any more". Al-Falih said this week Saudi Arabia is now pushing to extend the cuts "into the second half of the year and possibly beyond".

"The market overall is trying to balance OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts with increasing production all over the world as they reduce their costs and improve their efficiency".

OPEC and allied producers agreed in November to slash production, a move created to rid global markets of excess supply. But Tehran surprised global markets by boosting production at faster pace than most analysts had forecast after sanctions were lifted a year ago. USA crude stockpiles have started to drop and the amount of oil in floating storage is contracting. It was the highest closing price in a week for both benchmarks.

Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy said that "U.S. oil production has gained significant momentum" and that there was "limited downside risk in the short-term".

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Almost three years after the cyclical peak in oil prices, it should be clear that the "sheikhs vs. shale" struggle will never be a battle to the death. Prices are still up from about $48 a year ago.

Changes in drilling-rig counts on the ground tend to follow a few months after shifts in hedging activity, since many shale companies prefer to hedge new production before committing to more spending, Dannesboe said.

"Crude oil production declined in the UAE, Libya, Iraq and Iran, but increased in Angola and Saudi Arabia", OPEC said in the report.

This week the estimate mushroomed to 950,000 barrels a day, mostly because of a resurgence of USA shale production with a little help from Canada and Brazil.

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