July 17, 2018

OPEC Price Fight Weighs on Oil

13 March 2018, 11:11 | Hattie Nash

OPEC Price Fight Weighs on Oil

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York

Brent crude futures were down $1.16, or 1.8 percent, by 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT), to trade at $64.33 per barrel.

West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, is now near $62 a barrel.

Futures in NY were little changed after surging 3.2 percent Friday. The contract on Friday jumped over 3% to settle at $62.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, turning what would've been a weekly loss into a climb of roughly 1.3% from the week-ago settlement.

Zanganeh is not wrong, but the problem is that USA drillers have demonstrated that they could pump more at US$60 a barrel, too, so bringing prices closer to that level is not a guaranteed way to stymie USA oil production growth.

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"The big take away is the implied annual rate of change", James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch.

Meanwhile in Libya, the Marsa el-Brega refinery was hit by an explosion and fire Saturday following a gas leak at its methanol plant, state-owned National Oil Corp. said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies pledge to curb output may be undermined as the USA ships more oil to Asia, according to ING Groep NV.

Williams also pointed out that based on the figures, USA shale plays this year will "add enough to US production to match all the oil Venezuela now produces".

The next trigger for the industry will be the OPEC meeting on June 22 in Vienna, giving the market direction as to whether the existing production cuts will continue into 2019, Poulsen said.

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), with a group of other producers led by Russian Federation, has been withholding production since the start of 2017 to prop up prices. That split is driven by differing views over whether $70 a barrel sends US shale companies into a production frenzy that could cause prices to crash.

"The price surge was triggered by positive USA labor market data that have further improved the oil demand outlook in the United States, the world's largest consumer country", Commerzbank analysts said in a note. It was the first such decline in seven weeks.

Analysts said a liquidation of long positions had contributed to the dips.

Although crude's value has risen over 20% in the last six months, oil futures have been buffeted by a short-term bearish prognosis as US output has revved up and crude stocks have swelled to record highs.

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April WTI oil lost 68 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at USD61.36/bbl. Only Russia pumps more, at almost 11-million barrels a day.

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