Rising US output threatens global oil market balance

Reuters

Reuters

OPEC predicted that global oil markets won't rebalance until late next year after boosting forecasts for supplies from the USA and other rivals.

Traders said reports that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other non-OPEC producers may be planning output cuts beyond the current timeframe which sees curbs until the end of 2018, also supported Brent. As a result, an initiative by OPEC and Russian Federation to clear a global oil glut by cutting production - previously seen succeeding in the third quarter of 2018 - will take effect more slowly. "Total supply growth could exceed demand growth", the IEA wrote in its latest monthly oil market report.

Despite the rise, Brent was well below the $65.83 a barrel June, 2015 high reached earlier this week.

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Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were at $62.79 a barrel, up 35 cents, or 0.6 percent from their last close. In September, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. output rose by 290,000 barrels a day to almost 9.5 million barrels a day, almost a million more than 2016 production.

Yet the stronger outlook for supplies elsewhere is blunting the impact of OPEC's strategy.

Production, however, is lower by 1.1 million barrels a day compared with November 2016 as OPEC supply fell sharply - 1.3 million barrels per day year over year - and total cartel output of 32.36 million barrels a day was 860,000 less than a year ago. American shale explorers, who grew more efficient during the industry's three-year downturn, are locking in future revenues as US prices near $60 a barrel, potentially readying for a new surge in drilling.

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At the end of November, 24 nations that account for around 60 per cent of the world's oil supply agreed at a meeting in Vienna to keep a lid on output for all of 2018 in order to push up prices.

"The discovery of a crack in an onshore portion of the Forties Pipeline System disrupts over 400,000 bpd of United Kingdom oil production and removes one of four streams that serve as the physical benchmark for ICE Brent futures", Barclays bank said on Thursday.

"The momentum seen this year is expected to continue in 2018 on the back of increased investment in US tight oil and improved well efficiency", OPEC said.

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