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Oil steadies but rattled by concern about OPEC's clout

20 May 2017, 02:54 | Austin Hogan

Oil steadies but rattled by concern about OPEC's clout

A soldier patrols in front of the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna Austria

Crude oil prices rose on Monday, reversing earlier losses, after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members said they were considering extending their existing supply deal possibly into 2018, which helped offset the bearish impact of more increases in United States crude out output. Since a low point on May 27, 2016, USA producers have added 387 oil rigs, or about 123 percent, Goldman Sachs said.

"U.S. crude oil production is now solidly above 9.3 million barrels per day with more to come, and refined product, especially for gasoline, is oddly weak", said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital in NY. Aramco had previously been maintaining supplies to its important Asian customers.

Global benchmark Brent crude, according to Reuters news agency, settled up $1.49 a barrel, or 3 per cent, to $50.22 a barrel.

But questions remain about the effectiveness of OPEC-led cuts, with OPEC member Libya saying production now exceeded 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2014 and could rise to 1.2 million bpd later this year.

Oil prices have recovered somewhat this week as OPEC and Russian officials have signaled a renewal of the production deal is likely.

Brent LCOc1 was 30 cents higher at $50.52 a barrel by 0715 GMT.

OPEC monthly report also found that world oil supply growth for the year was increased by 37,000 barrels per day with supply to now average 58.3 million barrels per day.

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Oil prices surged more than 3 percent after the latest report on USA crude stockpiles eased fears that have permeated the market in recent weeks, helping to drag prices to almost six-month lows. Additionally, investors were also demonstrating a lack of confidence in OPEC's ability to rebalance the market through planned production cuts. Russian Federation and 10 other non-OPEC producers agreed to cut half as much.

Crude prices were modestly higher during the course of the session on Thursday in Asian trading, building an overnight gains, following a much better-than-expected reports on US inventories.

The report will add to a debate about the effectiveness of the supply cut pact, which is expected to be extended when producers meet later this month.

A third Asian refiner is getting contracted volumes for June, steady from the previous month, a separate industry source said.

Currently, OPEC is planning to extend the tenure of this oil curb to the year-end or to next year.

Surging U.S. production has raised concern that OPEC and its partners are failing to reduce an oversupply.



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