Oil prices in stand-still mode on competing trends

Will the EIA's Crude Oil Inventories Support Crude Oil Bulls?

In contrast to last week's reports that Saudi Arabia would be willing to extend the production cuts with which OPEC is trying to "fix" the global oversupply and lower-for-longer oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister had told reporters in Riyadh on Monday that "it is premature to talk about extending the cut".

Industry data show crude oil inventory levels on the decline, suggesting some supply-side strains are fading, but USA metrics have been consistent with estimates of gains in crude oil production.

Gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels.

Crude oil prices were relatively even in early Wednesday trading as continued US energy sector strength balances an OPEC-led production ceiling.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 traded at $54.92 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 also remained nearly unchanged from the last close at $52.43 a barrel, reported Reuters.

More news: Protesters across US press Trump to release tax returns

USA commercial crude oil inventories fell by ~2.2 MMbbls (million barrels) in the week ending April 7, 2017.

"Total inventories of crude and products moved to a deficit versus year-ago levels for the first time since August 2014, despite a build in gasoline stocks following refinery runs rising by 241,000 [barrels per day]", said Troy Vincent, oil analyst at ClipperData.

But Barkindo said at a conference in Abu Dhabi that the cartel and other top nonmember producers are committed to keeping global crude inventories below the five-year average. Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said some in the market were concerned about the rapid recovery in shale production.

OPEC and other producers such as Russian Federation agreed to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017 to drain a supply overhang that has persisted for nearly three years.

Gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.5m barrels to 237.7m barrels during the week ending on 14 April, while those of distillate fuels shrank by 2.0m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration, the US Department of Energy's statistical arm. The U.S. oil-rig count has been on the rise 13 weeks and now stands at its highest level in two years, according to oil-field services firm Baker Hughes Inc. During that period, crude oil prices (USO) (USL) (UCO) (BNO) were falling. The United States and allies lifted certain sanctions against Iran in late 2015 allowed Tehran to more than double its crude exports over 2016.

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