US Crude Oil Inventories Have Fallen ~10.6% in 2017
US Crude Oil Inventories Have Fallen ~10.6% in 2017
OPEC agreed to extend production cuts through 2018 but the cartel will evaluate market conditions at its June 2018 meeting
01 January, 2018, 04:35
WTI prices were further boosted by a fall in U.S. commercial crude storage levels, which dropped by 4.6 million barrels in the week to December 22 to 431.9 million barrels, according to the EIA.
Washington lifted a ban on petroleum exports in December 2015. Based on our detailed well data, we find that half of those missing barrels comes from under-estimated oil production. And even this is below average for the October-December quarter.
Both pipelines are expected to return to normal operations over the new year or in early January.
The EIA released its weekly crude oil inventory report on December 28.
Brent broke through $67 earlier this week for the first time since May 2015.
USA oil prices hit their highest levels since mid-2015 on the last trading day of the year as an unexpected fall in American production, as well as a fall in commercial crude inventories, stoked buying.
Although U.S. shale drillers are now exhibiting restraint, speculation is rising that they will put more rigs into operation next year as oil strengthens: Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy, pointed out that "With that partially offsetting production cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation, the market will have to get confirmation that global inventories will keep coming down".
In the North Sea, the 450,000 bpd capacity Forties pipeline system was shut this month after a crack was found.
Others predict that arbitrage trading will narrow the global price gap. WTI will face downward pressure if increases in shale oil production pick up pace, and the Trump administration is eager to promote oil exports as part of its plans to put "America first" in the energy sector.
Many buyers see adding American oil to their import mix as a way to increase their bargaining power with producers in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
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