Oil prices regain some ground, but oversupply weighs

Oil prices regain some ground, but oversupply weighs

The oil price got an early lift from comments by the secretary-general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who said the group was committed to restoring market stability by bringing global inventories down to the industry's five-year average. "Refinery maintenance is finishing, which is leading to greater processing of crude, and the OPEC cuts are going to finally have an impact on US inventories". Last November, OPEC countries, and other 11 participating non-OPEC countries agreed to slash production by 1.8 million barrels per day by the first half of 2016.

WTI oil prices fell by 3.8% on Nymex Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-steadies-as-investors-await-eia-inventory-report-2017-04-19), marking the steepest drop since March 8.

Oil edged higher on April 19 as OPEC said it was committed to eroding a global surplus of crude, but increasing shale production in the US and still-high global stocks threatened to pull prices lower.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers said after talks in Kuwait last month that they were looking into extending the output cuts, as compliance with the agreement has increased. The decline was mainly due to the surprise build in US gasoline stockpiles that point to weaker-than-expected demand at a time when consumption of gasoline usually rises.

U.S. crude stocks fell 1 million barrels in the latest week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a bit less than anticipated.

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USA oil prices fell almost 4 percent Wednesday, reaching a session low of $50.28 per barrel and marking their biggest daily percentage decline since early March, as inventories posted a less-than-expected decline for the week.

Brent for June settlement slipped 26 cents to $55.10 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded at a $2.20 premium to WTI for the same month.

The Saudis boosted production to 10 million bpd from 9.7 million a day in the same time frame, but this is within the quota established by OPEC and was used as fuel in power plants and other facilities. The U.S. oil-rig count has been on the rise 13 weeks and now stands at its highest level in two years, according to oil-field services firm Baker Hughes Inc.

"The U.S. has increased production by about 600,000 barrels a day since the OPEC agreement, mitigating their cuts". Inventories are at record highs.

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