Crude price strength welcomed by worldwide oil majors

Feb 02, 2018, 21:10
Crude price strength welcomed by worldwide oil majors

As the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries trims production, US oil output is surging. West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.9 percent to $65.31 per barrel.

USA production in November was 10.038 million barrels a day, just less than the record of 10.044 million barrels per day in November 1970. Kuwait, OPEC's fifth-biggest crude producer, plans to invest $114 billion on capital projects over the next five years and another $394 billion by 2040, Kuwait Petroleum Corp.

Goldman Sachs drew an even more bullish conclusion, saying in a note to clients Thursday that "the rebalancing of the oil market has likely been achieved, six months sooner than we expected".

OPEC remains concerned about the level of production by USA shale producers and the cartel is urging its US rivals to pare output to support prices. WTI prices were about $60 a barrel in January 2018.

As more of these wells have been completed and oil started to flow, production has surged even as the rig count has remained flat. Meantime, the start of maintenance season across US refineries means that demand will decline, which may cause further weekly builds in USA crude oil inventories.

OPEC pumped 32.4 million bpd in January, up 100,000 bpd from December. From August through September, gross inputs to refineries in the Gulf Coast region fell by 1.1 million barrels per day (b/d), a 13% decrease. Last month's total was revised down by 110,000 bpd to the lowest since April 2017, Reuters reported. As a result, the slowdown in US exports could create an additional factor sup-porting fuel prices in the short term.

Output from Venezuela, once the largest producer in Latin America, has been on a chronic decline because of mismanagement and lack of funds.

A new floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) arrived in Nigeria this week, adding 200,000 barrels per day to offshore output capacity.

New sanctions from the USA target tankers that were revealed to be delivering oil products from Russian Federation to North Korea.

Much of U.S. production from shale formation has been in light or ultralight sweet crudes, while the vast majority of OPEC's production cuts have come from heavier, sourer grades. It forecast that oil will return 24 percent to investors over the next six months.

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