USA crude oil prices hit more than 3-year high

The world’s most expensive oil

Global Look Press

Prices have fallen for three years straight since then because of a meeting between oil-producing nations on Thanksgiving where Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter, said it would not curb output to balance out an worldwide glut.

On Dec. 9, the EIA estimated that USA crude oil production could average 10.3 million barrels per day in 2018 - record levels for the United States and roughly 1 million barrels per day higher than estimated 2017 figures.

Brent crude futures settled at US$69.20 a barrel, up 38 cents. On November 31, 2016, the oil cartel Opec and non-Opec countries committed to cut down supplies by 1.8 million barrels a day till the end of 2018.

US production for 2017 averaged an estimated 9.3 million bpd, and is estimated to have averaged 9.9 million bpd in December, EIA said.

"The lower draw in crude oil stocks, combined with the strong builds in product stocks is bearish news for prices".

The market was supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations that US crude inventories have dropped for an eighth week.

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The price of Brent crude oil topped $70 per barrel briefly January 11 for the first time in more than three years.

USA crude inventories fell 4.9 million barrels last week, more than the 3.9-million decline forecast, but bigger-than-expected builds in gasoline and fuel stocks offset that drawdown, the Energy Information Administration reported.

The IEA warned that mostly due to US shale, total supply growth could exceed demand growth. EIA expects consumption growth will average 1.7 million b/d in 2018 and 1.6 million b/d in 2019, driven by the countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). That will be the first time production has reached that level since 1970. EIA expects global inventories to increase by about 0.2 million b/d in 2018 and by about 0.3 million b/d in 2019. The average production in 2019 will rise 580,000 bpd to 10.85 million bpd, the agency said in its first outlook for next year. As 2018 gets underway, commercial crude oil inventories in the United States remain 28 percent higher than they were four years ago.

Gulf of Mexico production is expected to average 1.7 million bpd in 2018, relatively unchanged from 2017, and then increase to 1.8 million bpd with the anticipated start of production from the Appomattox project in the Rydberg field and the Mars project in the Kaikias field, along with other projects expected to begin operations this year and next. Some observers have argued that the vast majority of the production increase has been in the form of natural gas liquids or condensates - lighter hydrocarbons that include propane and butane when refined.

The Energy Information Admin is out with its US inventories report at 10:30 am ET.

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