Oil prices claw back losses, but oversupply still weighs

21 Avril, 2017, 16:34 | Author: Lucrece Courtet
  • A pump jack used to help lift crude oil from a well in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale formation stands idle in Dewitt County Texas

Gasoline futures for May delivery dropped 3 percent to $1.659 a gallon, the lowest close since March 28. May heating oil HOK7, -2.56% fell less than half a penny to $1.62 a gallon.

The sharp drop also came on the back of recent data, including a 13th consecutive weekly rise in USA rigs drilling for oil and a forecast for higher domestic shale output in May, that imply the US will continue to add to global supplies even as OPEC and its allies curb production under a six-month pact that kicked in at the start of the year. Explorers in the nation have added rigs for the past 13 weeks, data from Baker Hughes Inc. show.

Any increase in output in the United States, now the world's third-biggest oil producer, will likely put pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - which agreed to curb output at the end of previous year - to cut production further. That will be discussed in Vienna next month, and until then we can expect oil prices to continue to jump and fall on the cryptic words of oil and energy ministers alike. "So far we have not seen huge fluctuation in the price, which is a good thing", he said. "The reality of rising United States output and massive inventories are weighing on prices". Also, U.S. production rose to 9.252 million barrels a day in the most recent week, highest since August 2015. They touched an intraday low of $54.98, the weakest level in 11 days. Total volume traded was about 30 percent above the 100-day average.

West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark for the price of up, was up 0.08 percent to $52.45 per barrel.

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"A build to gasoline inventories is tilted a little bearish, although a build of 2.5 million barrels on the Gulf Coast was in response to higher refining activity", said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData. Stockpiles expanded to 535.5 million barrels at the end of March, the highest in weekly data compiled by Bloomberg since 1982.

It would be premature to talk about the participation of OPEC members Iran, Nigeria and Libya in any extension of output limits, Barkindo and United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said at the conference. While global supplies are rising because of refinery maintenance, the market is rebalancing, he said.

"Rising oil output in the USA remains the predominant bearish factor for prices despite growing anticipation that OPEC will extend a self-imposed cap on its oil production in the upcoming May meeting", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

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