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Oil Prices Down, US Drilling Up

19 April 2017

Crude output at major USA shale plays is forecast to climb to 5.2 million barrels a day in May, the highest since November 2015, according to the EIA's monthly Drilling Productivity report. Futures gained 94 cents last week to close at $53.18 a barrel.

Crude futures prices fell Monday as a continued uptick in USA production fueled selling pressure after recent gains.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 14 cents at US$55.75 at 8:50 a.m. ET, after trading as much as 58 cents lower.

In the prolific Permian play located in West Texas and New Mexico, oil production is forecast to rise by almost 76,000 bpd to 2.36 million bpd, data showed, a new record for the largest USA shale play.

Non-OPEC oil producers such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan, and South Sudan agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd starting from January 1, 2017 for six months, extendable for another six months, taking into account prevailing market conditions and prospects.

May output was expected to rise by 123 000 barrels per day to 5,19-million barrels per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration's drilling productivity report.

Trump pulls his punches on China and Germany
The report also called on Japan to do more "to revive domestic demand and combat low inflation while avoiding a return to export-led growth".

Despite a surge in United States shale production, the average cost for a barrel of Brent crude may rise by $10 by the end of the year, according to U.S. investment banking multinational Citigroup, as cited by Bloomberg. Given this, it is frankly ridiculous for him to say that that it was too early to discuss whether extending the deal to cut production beyond June was necessary.

Meanwhile, oil producers in the USA added rigs for a 13th straight week, proof that output increases there will continue unhampered.

"It is of course OPEC's business to decide on its output levels, but a outcome of (hypothetically) extending their output cuts beyond the six-month mark would be bigger implied stock draws", the International Energy Agency said in a report released Thursday. Vandana Hari, an industry analyst for Vanda Insights, said that some of the older data on global stocks of oil isn't as helpful as weekly metrics. Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said the global oil market is moving closer to balance despite the US shale boom.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 22 cents at $53.33/barrel, also set for a third consecutive weekly gain. For the past four weeks, according to preliminary EIA data, the US has taken in about 12 percent less Saudi crude than the same time a year ago.

However, according to the IEA's own monthly report, global demand for oil is poised to fall - for the second year in a row. "Over this period, we have witnessed relative stability in the oil market". Gross domestic product for the world's second-biggest oil user increased by 6.9 percent in the first three months.

Oil Prices Down, US Drilling Up