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Oil prices slip Thursday as U.S. stocks surge, but global market tightens

By Ahmad Ghaddar / Reuters

LONDON
Petroleumworld 04 11 2019

Rising U.S. crude stocks dragged oil lower on Thursday but prices continued to find a floor as OPEC-led cuts and freefalling Venezuelan output tightened global supplies.

International benchmark Brent futures were at $71.43 a barrel at 0903 GMT, down 30 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were down 35 cents at $64.26 per barrel.

U.S. crude inventories surged by 7 million barrels to a 17-month high of 456.6 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil production remained at a record 12.2 million barrels per day (bpd), making the United States the world's biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

(GRAPHIC: U.S. oil production, storage & drilling levels - tmsnrt.rs/2HWNIqK )

“While U.S. crude stocks built last week, a massive draw on (gasoline) inventories likely buoyed the whole complex,” Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy said.

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by a whopping 7.7 million barrels, sending U.S. RBOB higher by 3.5 percent on their close on Wednesday.

Tightening global oil supplies also kept a lid on further price losses.

U.S. sanctions and power outages pushed OPEC member Venezuela's crude output to a long-term low of 870,000 bpd, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday, even lower than OPEC had reported the day before.

Overall output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has agreed with allies to withhold 1.2 million bpd of crude from the market since the start of 2019, fell 550,000 bpd in March to 30.1 million bpd, the Paris-based IEA said.

The agency, which coordinates the energy policies of industrialized nations, saw oil stocks in industrialized countries fall in February by 21.7 million barrels, remaining 16 million barrels above their five-year average.

“(Oil markets will remain tight) as long as Saudi Arabia continues to back the production cut deal as aggressively as it has done so far,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

Beyond the short-term outlook for oil markets, a lot of attention is on the future of demand amid the rise of alternative transport fuels.

“We believe global demand has another 10 million bpd of growth, with over half from China,” Bernstein Energy said in a note.

Current oil demand stands at around 100 million bpd.

Bernstein said it expected oil demand to peak around 2030.

“While no industry lasts forever, the age of oil is far from over,” Bernstein said.

 



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Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Tom Hogue from Reuters


reuters.com 04 11 2019 10:30 GMT

 

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