Oil drops on rising U.S. crude inventories, defies expected supply cut extension
19 May, 2017, 22:39
Opec's national representatives plus officials from its Vienna secretariat met on Wednesday and Thursday.
"The agreement by OPEC to extend cuts into 2018 is critical", said AB Bernstein in a note.
In November, OPEC members agreed on a production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day.
The deal between OPEC members and the 11 oil-producing nations outside OPEC is expected to be extended when OPEC meets on 25 May, noted Danske Bank in a research report.
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However, the 1.8-million barrel per day cut has not solved its dual objective of higher oil prices and lower inventories.
Brent crude was up 83 cents, or 1.6% at $52.48 USA per barrel mid-morning Wednesday. Currie said the market has largely priced in an extension through March 2018 floated by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation earlier this week. Its actions do not fetch the kind of responses they used to earlier.
After a volatile week on the markets, we're seeing signs of optimism rebound. "The extension alone should result in deeper cuts", he said, stressing that USA production would stop the rebalancing of the market this year. But U.S. oil producers are not paying any attention to the plea, and the number of rigs has more than doubled over the past year.
Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that U.S. oil exports to Asia have soared from just a handful of tankers per quarter throughout 2015 and 2016, to 10 tankers in the first quarter of this year, a figure expected to rise. But by May 17, July contracts for Brent crude were trading at $51.55. The bear market was a learning experience for the shale oil sector in the U.S. where companies brought their cost of operation substantially lower.
Martijn Rats of Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) said the United States rig count has doubled in a year, making it the "strongest recovery in the last 30 years". After that, it broke four-year highs and hit record levels.
Longer cuts at already agreed-upon volumes are needed to reduce global inventories to the five-year average, the energy ministers of the world's biggest crude producers said at a joint press briefing in Beijing on Monday. In a joint statement, the two countries' energy ministers said they will support an extension of the cut.
But government figures on Wednesday showed the first week-to-week drop in domestic oil production since February, a development which also helped lift crude prices this week and get light, sweet crude back toward $50.
"Basically US supply is coming on faster than we anticipated".
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In contango, today's oil prices are cheaper than prices in the future.
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