Oil prices struggle on doubts OPEC can rein in oversupply

Global oil output sees slowest growth since 2013
USA crude oil inventories are still above historic norms — CHART

18 June, 2017

OPEC now predicts US production will increase by 800,000 bpd in 2017, compared with an expected decline of 150,000 bpd last December.

Traders said the slight increases were a result of the threat of a partial export halt in Libya. On the other hand, countries like China and Mexico will see their oil outputs fall due to investment cuts in exploration and development activities.

Lower crude oil prices impact oil and gas producers' profitability.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were down 1.08% at $45.96 a barrel.

Oil prices were down more than half a percent after hitting a six-month low on Thursday, remaining under pressure from high global inventories and fears that OPEC's agreed production cuts can not offset rising production elsewhere. Prices are down 2.6 percent this week.

Oil prices edged lower in European trading on Thursday, as data showing U.S crude stockpiles shrank by less than anticipated, while gasoline inventories increased, underlined fears over a global supply glut. USA inventories fell less than forecast last week, keeping supplies more than 100 MMbbl above the five-year average, according to data from the EIA on Wednesday.

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Oil prices have fallen by about 10% since Opec and non-member countries including Russian Federation recently agreed to extend production cuts until the end of March 2018.

The so-called US driving season starts at the beginning of summer when gasoline demand peaks to its highest level of the year. Despite "robust demand", Fesharaki told CNBC that "there is too much oil on the market".

Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from Opec's cuts, ramped up production in May, helping push the cartel's crude production to an average of 32.14m barrels per day (bpd), up from 31.8m bpd in April.

The IEA expects oil supplies next year to outpace demand despite consumption hitting 100 million bpd for the first time.

The U.S. government's Energy Information Administration has raised its forecast for domestic output growth in 2017 to 460,000 bpd from a predicted decline of 80,000 bpd in December.

It added that the agency has published a forecast stating that the global refinery throughput is expected to go up by 2.7 million bpd between July and August, with refineries processing nearly 82 million bpd for the same period.

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