The Price of Oil Is Crashing Despite the Trump Bump

Posted March 30, 2017

By comparison, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia produced 11.48 million and 9.98 million barrels a day in February, respectively.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 18 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $48.08 a barrel. It was the most significant agreement since the oil crash in 2014 as OPEC fought for market share with United States shale producers.

Brent for May settlement fell 8 cents to $50.56 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. This is the highest level since September, 2015. USA oil rig count has been increasing since June and is now at its highest since September 2015.

Despite cuts, analysts warned of renewed or ongoing oversupply in coming years, especially as US shale producers ramp up and once OPEC returns to full capacity.

Total U.S. crude oil imports grew to 7.9 MMBPD in 2016, roughly 515,000 BPD higher than in 2015, as smaller price differences between global and domestic crude oils made importing more attractive in 2016 compared with the previous year.

The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventories data recorded a build of 4.95 million barrels in the week ending March 17th following a 0.24 million draw the previous week.

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Production by all Opec members, including cut-exempted Nigeria and Libya, fell to 31.95 million bpd.

"Opec is sticking with a plan that has not worked", said Phil Davis, managing partner at PSW Investments in Woodland Park, New Jersey, noting they are not offering more cuts and no new countries are joining in the cuts. "A blowout above the 2.1 million barrel increase expected, may well torpedo oil below the waterline", he added. Although demand is rising, supplies from USA refineries could rise faster.

The country's crude exports to the USA for the week ended March 10 fell by 426,000 barrels a day from the previous week, the sharpest weekly drop since November, according to data cited by The Wall Street Journal.

American crude production increased for a fifth week to 9.13 million barrels a day, the most since February 2016. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has said the group would extend the deal if oil stockpiles remain high.

The price of Brent crude has dropped below $50, the lowest in nearly four months, as surging USA stockpiles dim optimism that OPEC and its partners output cut will rebalance the market.

"US oil stockpiles trended lower through most of a year ago because of the fall in USA supply, but this trend is reversing as United States oil production increases", said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank following the release of the EIA report.