Oil Prices To Remain In USD40 To USD60 Range In 2018 - Moody's

03 January, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Kim Reid

However, the strong close outs of the year herald what many experts say is the inevitable outcome of high prices: increased USA production in 2018, which will clash directly with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) ongoing attempt via its extended output cutbacks to rebalance the market.

Despite the fact that Russia is cutting its oil production as part of OPEC and allies' deal to restrict global oil supply, Moscow's average daily crude oil production inched up again in 2017, to a 30-year-high of 10.98 million bpd, according to Russian Energy Ministry data. But prices have rallied almost 50 percent since the middle of the year on robust demand and strong compliance with the production limits.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded 20 cents lower at around $60.22 a barrel by 11:34 a.m. EST (1634 GMT).

Brent rose 0.6% to $67.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 7.16am local time.

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Oil markets have been supported by a year of production cuts led by the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russian Federation.

Oil prices were up slightly on Thursday as a pipeline outage in Britain continued to lift Brent crude prices.

USA output is up nearly 16 percent since mid-2016.

Analysts expect USA production to top 10-M BPD in the next few weeks and to keep growing, limiting efforts by other producers to cap global supplies.

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WTI prices were further boosted by an EIA report of a 4.6 million barrel weekly drop in USA commercial crude storage levels. In the last quarter of 2016, Russia's production had hit a post-Soviet era high, while year over year in 2016, production grew to 10.96 million bpd, from 10.72 million bpd in 2015.

A possible rise in United States oil production may pose a threat to higher oil prices.

Even without the unrest in Iran, which is a major oil exporter, market sentiment was bullish.

China's imports at around 8.5 million bpd, already the world's biggest, are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude. Iranian oil industry and shipping sources said protests have had no impact on oil production or exports so far.

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