Falling US crude stocks, threats to Nigerian fuel infrastructure push oil up

Posted January 18, 2018

USA crude inventories fell by 5.1-million barrels in the week ended January 12 to 411.5-million, according to the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday.

Brent futures settled 23 cents higher at $69.38 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 24 cents to $63.97 per barrel. On Monday, they hit their highest since December 2014 at $70.37 a barrel.

Oil prices kept stable on Wednesday.

Tighter markets have lifted both crude benchmarks about 13 percent above levels in early December, helped by production curbs by OPEC and Russian Federation, as well as by healthy demand growth.

Oil slips towards $69 ahead of US supply report

On the flip side, Nigeria's efforts to boost production in order to take advantage of what seems to be robust global demand may be stymied as militants threatened on Wednesday to attack off-shore oil facilities within days.

According to reports, in an effort to tighten markets and prop up prices, OPEC and Russian Federation started to withhold production in January past year and the cuts are set to last through 2018.

"After years of oversupply, the inventories are contracting much faster than the markets had anticipated", said Stephen Innes, Head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.

Despite this, analysts warned that the recent oil price rally, which has lifted crude by 14% since early December, may be about to run out of steam.

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On Tuesday, the EIA said it expected US oil output to increase in February, with production from shale rising by 111,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.55 million bpd.

Al-Sabah acknowledged the positive response of the oil market to the implementation of the "Declaration of Cooperation" in 2017, including the unprecedented high levels of conformity with the voluntary production adjustments, with participating countries seeing average monthly conformity levels of more than 100 percent throughout the whole year.

US refinery crude runs fell by 420,000 barrels per day (bpd) and refined product stocks rose, implying a well supplied market.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a huge draw of 11.19 million barrels of crude oil, along with an increase in gasoline inventories of 4.338 million barrels.

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This week, the API reported another, although smaller, build in gasoline inventories of 1.782 million barrels for the week ending January 12.

The firm said the reasons for this expected slowdown were an expected rise in USA oil output as well as a slowdown in demand growth.

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