losangelesnewstoday.com April 26, 2018

Prices slip but on track for weekly gain

15 April 2018, 12:15 | Maryann Sutton

Prices slip but on track for weekly gain

Oil has 'one last gush on the horizon'

Preliminary data for March is mixed, the IEA said, with USA stocks falling a further 17 million barrels on the month but higher crude stocks in Europe and Japan.

Stock levels are now 207 million barrels below their level in February 2017, with crude stocks in a surplus of 55 million barrels and product stocks in a deficit of 12 million.

The OPEC's report didn't provide any record for Iran's oil output based on direct communication in the mentioned month.

The price of oil was also supported by a drop in production by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Russian Federation, as they continued to comply with a 2016 deal that was reached in Vienna after prices crashed amid a global glut, the IEA said in the report.

NYMEX crude for May delivery was down 21 cents, or 0.3%, at $66.86 a barrel early on Friday. They mention that "it is not for us to declare on behalf of OPEC that it is mission accomplished", and that "if our outllok is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it". A price increase of that size and speed "can dampen oil demand growth to some extent".

It's possible that the balance between oil supply and demand for the major industrialized economies could slip below the five-year average, the International Energy Agency said Friday.

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The IEA said Opec's compliance rate with these supply cuts was at 163 per cent in March due to extra cutbacks in places like Venezuela, Libya and Angola, while its non-Opec partners achieved a 90 per cent compliance rate.

Oil-market observers were looking ahead to weekly data Friday from Baker Hughes on the number of rigs drilling for oil in the US, a key metric for activity in the sector.

"The Syrian escalation risk can not be fully written off, but we view that it deserves less of a premium than three days ago", Petromatrix said in a note. Demand from India increased by 380,000 barrels a day in the first two months of the year.

Indeed, the IEA noted that, expressed on a days of forward demand basis, OECD oil stocks have already been below the five-year average since January this year.

Analysts at Tudor, Pickering and Holt said the IEA's latest stock figures imply that the oil market remains 600,000 b/d undersupplied.

A market surplus driven by past OPEC policies of defending markets shares with higher production and steady gains in USA output helped push the price of oil below $30 per barrel in early 2016.

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