Oil output could return to October 2016 level, says Russia's Novak

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Following this statement and reports that other OPEC members could be mulling over higher production, to be discussed at the next OPEC+ meeting in late June, oil prices began to slide down, helped by assurances from Europe, China, and India they will continue to buy Iranian crude despite US sanctions. However, the report also said that even if a decision is reached next month, it may take three to four months to put into effect.

Due to surprising over-compliance, the group has passed its target.

In April, pact participants cut production by 52 percent more than required, with falling output from crisis-hit Venezuela helping OPEC deliver a bigger reduction than intended.

But commercial US crude inventories rose C-STK-T-EIA by 5.8 million barrels in the week to May 18, beating analyst expectations for a drop of 1.6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

OPEC and some non-OPEC major oil producers, which are scheduled to meet in Vienna on June 22, previously agreed to curb their combined output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to boost oil prices and clear a supply glut.

US crude inventories rose 5.8 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks increased by 1.9 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said. "But, it is likely that this will be a gradual easing", Novak said in comments published on the Russian energy ministry website. According to analysts, oil refiners...

Brent futures for July settlement were down 65 cents at US$79.15 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded $8.01 a barrel above WTI.

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And if North Korea truly has completed its nuclear program, as it says it has, then it no longer needs an active test site anyway. Russian Federation announced Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to North Korea for a visit on May 31.

A dearth of pipelines in West Texas' Permian Basin, the most prolific USA oil play, is leaving supplies trapped in the region. A lack of pipelines in the prolific Permian Basin shale play in Texas is exacerbating the swelling US surplus as American production tops 10 million barrels a day.

During the said week, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s basket price stood at $75.61 per barrel with $2.15 increase compared to the preceding week.

USA inventories climbed by 5.78 million barrels to about 438 million barrels in the week ended 18 May, data from the Energy Information Administration showed.

But analysts and traders predict that stockpiles may decline in the coming weeks, bolstering prices. Additionally, inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma futures hub fell by 822,000 barrels.

Oil prices have "been extremely extended for a long period of time", Kyle Cooper, a consultant at brokerage Ion Energy Group LLC, said by phone Friday.

The OPEC, non-OPEC cooperation may not be needed for the second half of the year as ministers look at the possibility of adding more barrels to the market.

Russian Federation and other members of the OPEC-led coalition of oil producers are broaching the possibility of easing output limits at a time when American shale drillers are pumping record amounts of crude.