Energy Dept. sees higher oil prices, more oil in 2018

Some have said this week’s 'perfect storm' of problems will raise questions about the UK’s energy security
Yui Mok  PA

Some have said this week’s 'perfect storm' of problems will raise questions about the UK’s energy security Credit Yui Mok PA

Oil prices briefly touched their highest since mid-2015 at about $65 a barrel after the shutdown, which has cut off supply of the largest North Sea crude stream.

Brent crude was up 58 cents at $63.92 a barrel by 1319 GMT.

USA crude imports rose last week by 433,000 barrels per day. "At this stage, it is still too early to say how quickly the fix will take, but it is expected to be a matter of weeks rather than days".

One trading source said late on Tuesday that a tanker at Hound Point had not been able to take on all of its scheduled load of crude oil because the system was "running dry".

The pipeline carries around 40% of North Sea crude oil.

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With several fields in the North Sea closed down in response, Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a commentary emailed to UPI that the North Sea outage "is going to continue to support prices and the selloff after the spike was really profit taking".

While the Forties shutdown has provided a price floor, early gains quickly evaporated in a global market that is still oversupplied and with output rising in the United States. "Now, we're basically where we were a month ago", Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix consultancy said. Gasoline stockpiles, however, rose 5.7 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles declined by 1.4 million barrels, according to the EIA.

The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration releases its weekly oil report on Wednesday.

Refineries processed 17 million barrels of crude daily last week, the EIA also said, producing 10.1 million barrels of gasoline, up from 9.8 million bpd last week.

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