GIQ Industry Survey: Oil to Average in the $50sa Barrel in 2018

Lucy Bush
September 23, 2017

Crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose for a third straight week, building by 4.6 million barrels, about a million more barrels than forecast.

But last week, the International Energy Agency said oil stockpiles in developed countries could hit or fall below their five-year average "very soon," a key target for OPEC as it considers extending the output cuts.

Crude oil prices turned lower on Thursday, as traders finally reacted to the previous session's downbeat US stockpiles data and as markets were cautious ahead of a highly-anticipated meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Friday.

Gasoline inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels and distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, dropped by 5.7 million barrels.

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"Nearly a month after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in South Texas, the data are finally signaling a return to more normal operations in the region", said Troy Vincent, oil analyst at ClipperData. US gasoline held in storage shrank by 2.13 million barrels last week to a level not seen since November 2015, the Energy Information Administration said in a weekly report on September 20.

"Demand is clearly coming back, so there is a need for refining to come back online". The October contract expired Wednesday after gaining 1.9 percent to close at $50.41.

Oil prices settled almost flat on Thursday, the eve of a meeting of major oil-producing countries in Vienna to discuss whether they will extend production limits that have helped reduce the global crude glut. Crude output expanded by 157,000 barrels a day to 9.51 million a day. "Stronger exports also affirmed returning operational strength in the US refining hub".

The deal was extended in May through March 2018, but has been hindered by both a lack of compliance by some signatories and steady USA shale output.

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An OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna Friday will discuss the possibility of extending the cuts beyond March, Algeria Press Service cited Algeria's Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni as saying, while Saudi Arabia and others have mooted a possible extension.

Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are interested in extending the production cut deal.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures gained slipped 0.18% to $1.662 a gallon, while natural gas futures fwere steady at $3.123 per million British thermal units.

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