Another Record Week for US Oil Exports as Production Surges

Feb 26, 2017, 00:34
Another Record Week for US Oil Exports as Production Surges

Oil futures ended higher Thursday, maintaining gains after data showed a smaller-than-expected rise in US crude inventories. A fall in exports could have also contributed to the rise in inventories. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed crude stockpiles rose by 564,000 barrels last week to 518.7 million, extending a record for the highest level in weekly inventories begun in August 1982.

With the cutting of production by OPEC, a major supplier to the ever-hungry Asian refineries, exports of crude from the North Sea hit a record of over 10 million barrels in January, and although West African exports eased that month, they held within sight of 17-month highs. While the inventory expansion, which has kept prices in a tight range above US$50 (RM222) this year, slowed last week, Citigroup Inc says the glut Opec created by boosting production just prior to their December deal means they will need to prolong their cuts beyond June.

The oil for delivery in far-month April also fell Rs 62 or 1.68 per cent to Rs 3,635 per barrel in 3,026 lots. Domestic output increased to 9 million barrels per day last week, the fastest pace since April, while US refiners used the least crude since October 2015. In an effort to stabilise oil prices, the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers, like Russian Federation, have agreed to cut about 1.8 million barrels a day. When this structure inverts into backwardation, stocks of oil are more likely to find their way into the market as their owners can achieve a higher selling price. The gain marked the seventh consecutive week of rising crude oil inventories.

Analysts at LBBW said that the continued growth in USA production and oil prices that look to have reached a technical ceiling have led them to cut their year-end Brent price forecast by $5 to $55 a barrel.

As a result of the output cut decision, oil prices have stabilised above 50 dollars per barrel in recent weeks. "We saw some bigger draws in heating oil and even gasoline, but we're well supplied there", Tariq Zahir at Tyche Capital Advisors.

"With the group still net long at 40,969 contracts, there's potential for this bearish flow to continue", Evans said.

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