undergroundnewsroom.com April 22, 2018

Oil treads water with OPEC silence on extension

24 September 2017, 12:56 | Gordon Grant

Oil Range Bound Ahead of OPEC Meeting

Oil prices have settled nearly flat amidst unease ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna

Before the meeting, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters that the co-ordinated efforts to maintain production cuts was essential.

Nigeria was first granted production cuts at the November, 2016 Ministerial Conference and this was later extended in May at another Ministerial Conference, until the country stabilizes its crude oil production.

He added, "I don't think it's a sure thing they extend the deal at this meeting anyway", in reference to attention paid of late to the prospect that the cartel will extend its oil reduction initiative beyond the expiry date of March 2018.

Marco Dunand, chief executive officer for Mercuria, said, "The market is selling inventories from everywhere".

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude futures were at $56.35 a barrel at 0249 GMT, down 8 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close. Still, predictions of strong growth in United States shale production next year mean there are still concerns that the scheduled expiry of the agreement at the end of March could be premature.

"Although Nigeria's oil production hit 1.802 million barrels per day in the month of August, that was not enough justification for a call by some countries for Nigeria to be brought back into the fold", Mr. Kachikwu pointed out. The bloc has already agreed to extend output cuts through March 2018, although another extension may be in the works.

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"The process is working fine so far", Kuwait's oil minister Issam Almarzooq said after the meeting.

The two African nations are now exempt from cutting output because of internal strife, and recent production gains from both countries have diluted the efforts of other members to drive prices higher.

Brent crude futures for November also traded largely in-line, down a slim 0.07% at $56.39, to remain near its highest point since February.

There was 340 million more barrels oil in storage in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries than the current five-year average in January but that fell to 209 million barrels in July, the last month for which data was available, GMP FirstEnergy analyst Martin King said.

US crude stocks rose a less than expected 1.4 million barrels at the end of last week, The American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday, while gasoline stocks fell 5.1 million barrels and distillates dropped 6.1 million barrels.

Caps for both Libya and Nigeria were discussed but not finalized at Friday's meeting. "The reality is the cap we agreed on is 1.8 million bpd and as long as we are producing below that, we are already in it". The meeting was likely to be brief, two OPEC delegates said.

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