Oil slips from $70 as supplies tighten

US gas, oil production up in 2018, but gasoline prices will be higher: EIA

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said Tuesday that prices this year were supported in part by OPEC commitments, but also by demand strains from severe winter weather.

Yet, the demand was the story that has not been told enough. OPEC in December, however, produced about 50,000 barrels per day more than in November. By the end of the year, however, structural limitations caused Libya's and Nigeria's production to peak.

"The decline comes in an environment of a falling USA dollar, which is an offsetting factor", he added.

"Inventories ended 2017 9.3 percent above the five-year average, a stark contrast to the 35.6 percent surplus seen at the end of 2016", Oil Futures Editor Geoffrey Craig said in a statement emailed to UPI. At the same time, USA refiners export both diesel fuel and gasoline as well as crude. 2019 USA production is forecast to average 10.8 million bpd, and to top 11 million bpd in November 2019, the agency said.

Demand for distillates, which include heating oil, jumped almost 7 percent as frigid temperatures gripped the Northeast, where many households heat with heating oil. Still, that's impressive in a normal world.

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“EIA forecasts USA crude oil production to grow by 980,000 barrels per day in 2018, and we expect most of that growth to come from tight rock formations in Texas and North Dakota, ” he said.

The 2017 Brent average of $54 was an increase of $10 over 2016 levels, EIA said, with prices increasing fairly steadily throughout the second half of 2017 and year-end prices higher than the annual average, ending the year at a daily price near $67 per barrel, “the highest level since December 2014.”. Think of the gravity of that.

Crude oil production from the United States is expected to increase more than in any other country. Demand growth during that time will challenge producers to meet that demand. Though breaking through the symbolic $70 price level for the global benchmark is music to the ears of some producers who have cut output, higher oil prices are both a blessing and a curse for Russian Federation and many OPEC members that have sought to curb production to keep oil prices relatively stable without causing them to increase so much that they boost investment in North American shale oil production and alternative energies. Stephen Smith Energy Associates updated its weekly estimate Tuesday to show a withdrawal of 316 Bcf, while Kyle Cooper of IAF Advisors predicted a 338 Bcf pull.

Bearish signals include a rise in fuel inventories as well as a fall in refined products profits in Asia, which are expected to hamper orders for new feedstock crude.

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