Oil prices tumble on U.S. inventories data

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Dow Jones industrial component Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell 0.3% on the stock market today.

US crude oil production rose to 9.25 million barrels per day, official data showed, up nearly 10 percent since mid-2016.

Energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Thursday drillers added 11 oil rigs in the week to April 13, bringing the count up to 683, highest in about two years.

"The battle between the "sheiks and the shale oil producers" is far from decided. with all attempts by OPEC to achieve a lasting production deficit on the oil market being torpedoed by non-OPEC producers - first and foremost the US", analysts at Commerzbank wrote.

Olivier Jakob, managing director of Switzerland-based consultant Petromatrix, said in a daily newsletter that extending an agreement led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is all-but certain, though questions have surfaced over how long the extension would last. A final decision on whether or not to extend the deal beyond June will be taken by the oil cartel on May 25. Output in the lower-48 states rose 21,000 bpd to 8.72 million, also the highest since August 2015. "The reality of rising U.S. output and massive inventories are weighing on prices".

Global benchmark Brent crude futures swooned as low as $54.61, the lowest since April 7, then settled down 47 cents at $54.89 a barrel. The contract, which finished at its lowest level since April 7 on Tuesday, is set to expire at Thursday's settlement. Both Exxon and Chevron are stuck below their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. WTI si now trading at $51.2 per barrel and Brent at $2.1 per barrel premium to WTI.

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"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.

US crude futures tumbled following the EIA data release, off $2.7% to $51 a barrel.

Oil producers are showing "very good" compliance with pledged production cuts, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday in Riyadh. Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said the global oil market is moving closer to balance despite the USA shale boom.

Then in December, non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation agreed to cut their own output to 558,000 barrels per day. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has called for the market to be patient.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 778,000 barrels, EIA said.