Oil sticking to high points, WTI getting comfortable around $71

16 May, 2018, 15:56 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Source U.S. Energy Information Administration Short Term Energy Outlook May 2018

The difference between the two benchmarks briefly widened to more than $8 a barrel, the widest gap since April 2015, reflecting surging US crude supplies and a greater geopolitical risk to Brent-based crudes.

However, EIA expects West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price to average $5/barrel lower than the Brent price this year.

USA shale production is expected to hit a record 7.18 million barrels per day (bpd), the Energy Information Administration said.

US light crude was 26 cents lower at $70.69 a barrel, also not far off its highest since November 2014.

Turmoil in the Middle East and US trade sanctions against major oil producer Iran have recently supported crude.

Moreover, in a monthly oil market report released Monday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2018, expecting the world to consume 98.85 million barrels a day, or 1.65 million barrels a day higher than previous year.

Source U.S. Energy Information Administration Short Term Energy Outlook May 2018
Source U.S. Energy Information Administration Short Term Energy Outlook May 2018

A global oil glut has been virtually eliminated, figures published by OPEC showed on Monday, thanks to an OPEC-led pact to cut supplies that has been in place since January 2017 and due to rising global demand.

"European and Asian buyers of Brent are pricing in the risks and realities of the fallout from sanctions on Iran to increased tensions in the Gaza strip, as well as the inability of traditional Brent oil producers to fill that void", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

Refinery runs in March also jumped to a record as import quotas for the small independent refiners-the so-called "teapots"-were increased and refinery margins stayed healthy". "The API inventory data in the United States fits with. a topping pattern or at least a decent pause for oil prices at the moment", said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

The decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran deal "has switched the focus of oil market analysis from the fundamentals to geopolitics", the International Energy Agency wrote in its regular monthly report.

After the plans for the U.S. to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal became known, oil prices surged over the uncertainty of what would happen to Iran's oil industry if the USA reimposed sanctions, limiting Iran's production.

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