World oil prices on the rise


One of the big questions in 2018 is how much shale oil will the U.S. produce

The vast majority of Canadian oil output comes from the oil sands, which trades at a discount to the North American benchmark price because it is more expensive to refine and amid a lack of pipeline options to get it all safely and quickly to market.

Oil's trading at the highest level since mid-2015 after WTI breached above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than two years. Brent crude futures fell 11 cents to $66.33 a barrel. That could act counter to plans by producers including Saudi Arabia, who have pledged to extend production curbs through the end of 2018 to wipe out a global glut. "Supply will be relatively tight because of high OPEC commitment", said Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at LBBW. High oil prices benefit funds like the Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE) and Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Energy (RYE).

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Another factor supporting prices was strong demand in southeast Asia, where the number of tankers holding oil in storage around Singapore and Malaysia has halved since June.

USA light crude was expected to average US$55.78 a barrel next year, up from last month's forecast of US$54.78.

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On the supply side, Brent prices have been supported by a year of production cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russian Federation.

USA output is still up by nearly 16% since mid-2016, but most analysts had expected production to break through 10 million bpd by the end of this year-a level only surpassed by top exporter Saudi Arabia and top producer Russian Federation.

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"We see United States supply continuing to grow next year but are less concerned about a sudden supply glut re-emerging as rising D&C (drilling and completion) costs will likely slow production growth", said Ashley Petersen of Stratas Advisors.

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