Oil drops on rising U.S. drilling

Oil moves little as Riyadh, Moscow send mixed signals

Oil producers nervously watch industry trends

It is no longer news that OPEC has succeeded in getting its member nations to agree to cut their crude oil output in a bid to end the supply glut that has kept oil prices depressed for much of the last three years.

"With the Baker Hughes rig count rising for a ninth straight week, investors will be hoping that Opec this week will reiterate commitment to production cuts, perhaps going so far as to begin talking up chances of further cuts in June".

However, other market commentators expect oil markets will tighten soon, arguing that the Opec-led cuts will only start to take effect from April.

"Although OPEC's inability to balance the oil markets in the first half of 2017 has sparked speculations of the organization extending its six-month contract, the rise of USA shale and lingering concerns of some members not fully following the compliance in cutting production could create headwinds".

"As such, average oil prices for 2017 are not expected to exceed $60 per barrel".

Falling oil prices and fears of rising protectionism following the G20 world financial leaders meeting put a dampener on global markets after last week's record highs in the United Kingdom and US.

The chart above shows how oil prices have fared since OPEC announced its supply cut past year until date.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in March was trading down by Rs 31 or 0.97 per cent at Rs 3,165 per barrel in 3,406 lots. The global crude oil benchmark, the Brent crude has declined by 4.30% to around $50.10 per barrel. Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, has said Opec will extend the deal if stockpiles are still above their five-year average. So far, OPEC has delivered almost all the cutbacks it promised, mostly because Saudi Arabia has pulled back more than it agreed.

Prices briefly surged into positive territory after sources within the group said Opec was considering extending production cuts into the second half of 2017.

The US oil output also increased to 9.1 million barrels per day (BPD) from 8.5 million BPD in June 2016.

Analysts expect U.S. production to continue to increase. The country's oil output has increased to 646,000 barrels a day from 621,000 on Sunday due to more production from Waha Oil Co, he said.

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