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Oil prices rise on potential extension of output cuts

20 April 2017

"By the end of April we will reach 300,000 barrels per day cuts", said the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. The market has gained for six sessions in a row, its longest rising streak this year.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery was at US$53.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 25 cents.

Demand for oil from OPEC is seen growing by 600,000 bpd from 2016, to 32.2 million barrels daily.

Even with its projection that non-OPEC supply will grow to average 57.89 million b/d in 2017, a 176,000 b/d upward revision from its February report, OPEC said it still sees the oil market in deficit in the third quarter.

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Gasoline supplies fell 2.97 million barrels, while inventories of distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, slipped 2.15 million barrels.

OPEC said its production, including Nigeria and Libya, fell about 150,000 bpd in March to 31.93 million bpd, as Saudi Arabia continued to make a larger cut than called for by the deal.

The government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday U.S. 2018 crude output would rise to 9.9 million bpd, from 9.22 million bpd this year.

US crude was down 9 cents to $53.31 a barrel as of 11:21 a.m. ET (1521 GMT), while Brent crude dropped 17 cents to $56.06 a barrel.

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US crude inventories hit a record 535.5 million barrels C-STK-T-EIA this month.

"The biggest takeaway is that all three main categories had draws that were bigger than expected", Kessens said.

Despite bullish calls from Riyadh on compliance, the price of oil and the terms of the arrangement, secondary sources reported total Saudi oil production last month was just shy of 10 million barrels per day for a gain of about a half percent from February.

Saudi Arabia is reported to have reduced its output by almost 4.5%. But with the oil cartel cutting output and talking about extending curbs past mid-year, US production hit its highest level in 20 months. Absent such conditions, the larger-than-expected ramp up in USA activity and the sooner than expected shift by the oil majors to refocus on growth observed so far this year should ultimately be the incentive for an only short duration cut. More than 61,000 contracts of July WTI crude $57 call options traded as of 5:19 NY, a record high for the contract.

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