Monday, 19 February, 2018

Oil World Turns Upside Down as US Sells Oil in Middle East

Brent Crude Daily April Brent Crude
| 08 February, 2018, 01:02

It also expected the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to average 4 dollars lower than Brent prices in both 2018 and 2019.

Prices for 'black gold are supported by API statistics, according to which the oil reserves in the US decreased by 1.05 million barrels to 418.4 million barrels following the results of the working week, which ended on February 2.

Driven by additional refinery capacity, strategic stockpiling, decreased domestic petroleum production, and increased consumption, China surpassed the United States in annual gross crude oil imports previous year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Friday.

At 1145 GMT, April ICE Brent crude futures were unchanged from Tuesday's settle at $66.86/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was down 15 cents at $63.24/b. A tanker sailed from Houston and arrived in the Persian Gulf last month.

Total gasoline inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, and are now in the middle of the five-year average range.

A recent rebound in drilling rig activity boosted production after futures prices extended a rally to three-year highs earlier this month.


Hedge funds and other speculators had a record long position in crude futures as recently as late January.

Rising non-Opec output is likely to cap oil prices at some point, but now markets seem to be factoring in only the positive news. Also, unexpected is the economic collapse in Venezuela, which saw 2017 oil exports at their lowest level since 1989. That should drive more USA exports, putting the country in line to potentially overtake Russian Federation as the world's largest producer.

The United States, meanwhile, is rivaling Saudi Arabia in terms of total USA crude oil production, exporting some of that to the open market. China imported on average 8.4 million bpd in 2017, compared with 7.9 million bpd of imports for the United States.

The steep drawdown in United States inventories over the last several weeks has however underpinned strength in WTI to a large extent.

Oil's inverse relationship to the dollar, whereby a stronger currency makes it more expensive for non-US investors to buy dollar-denominated assets, has reasserted itself this week, with the greenback up more than 1 per cent since Feb 1.

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