If Saudis Extend Oil Cuts, Will Russia Agree?

31 March, 2017, 01:35 | Author: Celia Hoffman

Crude rose to a three-week high after Kuwaiti comments bolstered optimism that OPEC and its partners will extend output curbs.

Elsewhere, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude May contract reached a session peak of $49.98 a barrel, also the highest since March 10.

USA gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI fell 3.7 million barrels in the week ending March 24, compared with expectations for a 1.9-million barrel drop, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

U.S. GDP climbed by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 1.9 percent increase.

US crude exports surged 12 percent in 2016 to 520,000 barrels per day and China became the third-biggest overseas destination for USA crude last year, according to EIA data, up from ninth the previous year.

Kuwait oil minister Essam al-Marzouq said his country was among several nations supporting the extension into the second half of the year of a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters to limit production, state news agency KUNA reported. Non-OPEC countries pledged to cut about half as much.

Nigeria has lost some of its market share in Europe, its biggest regional market, as crude oil exports from the United States penetrate more destinations.

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While the bulk of early crude shipments from the US went to Europe, demand has shifted and many recent cargoes have been sent to Asia, Trafigura's Luckock said.

Iran has affirmed it will adhere to a production cap of 3.8 million barrels per day, which the Saudis took as an important statement of intent.

Libya's output was said to fall to about 500,000 bpd after a pipeline carrying crude from the Sharara field - its biggest - stopped operating.

"Fundamental support has come from Libya where trouble have close down supply from two sites producing 250,000 barrels of oil per day", he said.

OPEC member Libya was excluded from the cuts, agreed late previous year, as the country's oil sector suffered from the unrest that followed the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The EIA said, "Aside from Canada, European destinations such as the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France rank high on the list of the USA crude oil export destinations".

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1, the Global benchmark for oil, were at $52.42 per barrel at 0040 GMT, unchanged from their last close. Increased crude oil imports in 2016 substituted for some domestic crude oil at US refineries, allowing higher exports despite lower USA production and increased refinery runs.

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