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Saudi Arabia signals oil cuts could extend beyond 2017

20 May 2017

Thirteen OPEC members and 11 non-OPEC countries, led by Russian Federation, had agreed on November 30, 2016 to reduce their production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months beginning from January in an effort to drain a glut of crude that held down prices for over two years. Since a low point on May 27, 2016, USA producers have added 387 oil rigs, or about 123 percent, Goldman Sachs said.

While US shale output growth and the shutdown of refineries for maintenance have slowed the impact of cuts by OPEC and its partners, the Saudi minister said he is confident the global oil market will soon rebalance and return to a "healthy state".

The oil market has finally swung into a supply deficit, and demand is expected to outstrip output even more in the second half of the year if OPEC agrees to extend its production cuts, according to a top energy watchdog. Saudi Aramco will reduce supplies to Asian customers by about 7 million barrels in June.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $47.57 a barrel, up 24c, or 0.5% from the last settlement.

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Crude oil prices gained on Thursday as investors were buoyed by falling inventories in the United States and higher-than-expected supply cuts to Asia by Saudi Arabia.

WTI has been under pressure for the last several weeks.

Brent was 69 cents higher, or 1.4 percent, at $50.91 a barrel by 12:07 p.m. EDT (1607 GMT) after hitting a high of $51.16. Russian Federation and 10 other non-OPEC producers agreed to cut half as much.

Oil Storage Tanks at Cushing, OKOil held gains before government data forecast to show US crude stockpiles fell for a fifth week, further reducing an inventory surplus.

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If the supply curbs are extended, then OPEC will likely struggle to keep its members adhering to the their output targets, Weinberg said.

Oil prices rose on Monday in volatile trading, bolstered by statements from major oil-producing countries suggesting that OPEC and non-OPEC supply cuts could be extended into 2018.

Iraq - OPEC's second-largest producer and a country that relies on oil revenues for almost 95 percent of its budget - committed to reduce daily production by 210,000 barrels to 4.351 million.

"U.S. oil production surpassed expectations in terms of an early bottoming and swift uptick, and is set to expand further based on the latest drilling momentum", said Norbert Ruecker, head of macro and commodity research at Julius Baer.

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