Economy

Investors Skeptical of US Oil Producer Discipline

Investors Skeptical of US Oil Producer Discipline

West Texas Intermediate crude oil is back above $60 a barrel after last week's selloff sent below that level for the first time this year.

Crude prices were boosted by a weaker United States dollar and a rebound in global stock markets following the turmoil seen last week, but rising USA production is still keeping a lid on the rally.

"Prices could be maintained at recent levels even as US production rises", the agency said.

Crude production from the Lower 48 excluding federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, mostly from shale, is expected to rise by almost 1.25 million bpd this year.

In a separate note, Goldman Sachs said "the drivers of higher oil prices from September until last week - healthy global demand, voluntary/involuntary supply disruptions and U.S. producer discipline - are unlikely to be sustainable".

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"The market has now rediscovered its optimism and confidence", he said.

US crude production from major shale formations is expected to rise in March by 111,000 barrels per day from the previous month to 6.76 million bpd, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a monthly report yesterday.

"These DUC wells just require fracking to bring oil to the market".

The reason why the oil market might suffer from a renewed glut largely comes down to soaring USA shale production. The oil inventory surplus now stands at about 52 million barrels above the five-year average, down sharply from 264 million barrels a year ago.

While pointing to emerging optimism in the energy markets, OPEC's secretary general said Wednesday that any focus on stability should be long-term.

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That spoke to an upward correction from prior conjectures and "for the most part mirrored the positive financial viewpoint", OPEC said. OPEC's production declined in January, the organization reported. USA production will lead the growth, with the cartel raising its US production outlook by 150,000 bpd.

The Paris-based IEA on Tuesday raised its forecast for oil demand growth in 2018 to 1.4 million barrels per day, from a previous projection of 1.3 million bpd, after the International Monetary Fund upped its estimate of global economic growth for this year and next. Prices for barrels of crude from the North Sea, Russia, the United States and Middle East have dropped to multi-month lows.

Total U.S. liquids production, which includes natural gas liquids, is predicted to rise by 1.7 million bpd in 2018, which is exactly the same as the forecast increase in global liquids consumption.

Speaking Monday in an interview in Dubai, AI Mazrouei disclosed that the oil market should re-balance this year, given robust demand and producers' compliance with their pledges to curtail supply.

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