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Oil Prices Slip Despite Draw In Crude, Gasoline Inventories

22 April 2017

Oil traded flat on Thursday after weekly data indicated a continued rise in USA production, while an International Energy Agency (IEA) report said the market was close to balance.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday that U.S. 2018 crude oil output would rise to 9.9 million barrels per day in 2018 from 9.22 million bpd this year. The EIA will publish its regular update on US crude stocks later today after it said last week that oil inventories hit a record 535.5 million barrels.

To shore up weak oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 11 non-OPEC producers, including Russian Federation, agreed in November 2016 to trim oil production by a total of 1.8 million barrels per day.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers have pledged to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day in the first six months of 2017, to get rid of excess supply.

Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil price benchmarks declined over the course of the first quarter - to below US$52 per barrel for Brent and US$48 per barrel for WTI - but have recently rallied.

The U.S. data followed bullish reports from OPEC nations, which said they had cut March output beyond measures they had promised, according to figures the group published in a monthly report, as it sticks to an effort to clear a glut that has weighed on prices.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months from January 1 to prop up prices and reduce a glut.

Citi's report said that Brent oil prices are set to rise over US$60 per barrel this year as long as OPEC countries agree with non-OPEC allies to honour their output cut.

Both benchmarks kicked off Thursday on a downbeat note after US data on Wednesday showed domestic production jumped to its highest level in more than a year last week.

"Upward revisions were seen in Russia's production due to the approval of production ramp ups from the three new projects started up past year including Filanovsky in the Caspian", the OPEC said.

He also said the widening discount of the current Brent crude price to the contract in the next month is "basically telling you the market is not actually that tight".

The threat from USA shale was laid bare in the report, however, with OPEC analysts increasing their forecast for U.S. production growth by 200,000 bpd to 540,000 bpd this year.

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OPEC is scheduled to meet on May 25 to discuss whether to extend output cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day for another six months.

Lately oil has found support from supply disruptions in Libya.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is scheduled to release its United States oil inventory projections for the week ended April 7 later on Tuesday which are likely to provide an indication of what the official figures from the Energy Information Administration will show a day later.

The government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said US 2018 crude output C-OUT-T-EIA would rise to 9.9 million bpd, from 9.22 million bpd this year.

The EIA was scheduled to publish official U.S. production and inventory data on Wednesday.

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