Oil Prices Hold Gains on Tighter US Stocks, Global Supply

09 January, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Brent Crude

Futures were little changed in NY following a 1.7% increase last week. A simmering power struggle in Iran has raised anxieties over the stability of OPEC's third-largest crude producer.

Oil has held above $60 a barrel since late December in NY with USA crude stockpiles contracting and American oil drilling stalling out.

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Oil had its strongest opening week for any year since 2013 last week as United States stockpiles continued to shrink and amid output curbs by the the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies. Yet at current prices levels, "a significant portion of shale production is viable and profitable".

USA crude futures rose 29 cents, or 0.47%, to $61.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded was about 11 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent crude futures were at $67.77 a barrel, up 15c or 0.2% from their last close. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.06 to March WTI. Over the past week, protests erupted in a number of Iranian cities against the government's economic policies. Other nations within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Algeria, Angola, Iran and Libya, slightly increased production, while Saudi Arabia's output lowered by 70,000 barrels a day.

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Traders said the gains were due to a slight decline in the number of United States rigs drilling for new production, which eased by five in the week to January 5, to 742, according to data from oil services firm Baker Hughes. In the midst of investor pressure, explorers are seeking to do more with less in a bid to boost profits, including opening already-drilled wells by fracking them rather than deploying more rigs to start new ones.

In December 2016, OPEC countries and other major oil producers, including Russian Federation, agreed to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day.

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from Hawaii ($3.30); California ($3.17); Alaska ($3.06); Washington ($2.88); OR ($2.77); Pennsylvania ($2.76); Nevada ($2.73); CT ($2.69); NY ($2.67); and MI ($2.61). All comments are subject to editorial review.

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