Profit Taking Eats At Crude Oil Gains

Oil Prices Hit Historic High On Weak Dollar

US crude stockpiles dropped to 419.5 million barrels last week, the lowest level since August 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration. Earlier prices rose to $63.57, the highest since December 9, 2014. With the typical inverse link between crude prices and the dollar taking hold once again in the second half of the year, oil got another shove.

Singapore average refinery profit margins have fallen below $6 per barrel this month, their lowest seasonal level in five years.

“EIA estimates that OPEC countries cut crude oil production output in 2017, but those cuts were offset by increased production in non-OPEC countries, especially the United States and Canada, ” EIA Acting Administrator John Conti said in a January 9 statement. The head of Russian oil company Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, meanwhile, said that if oil prices stay this high, the effort led by OPEC, but which includes Russia, will need to gradually come to an end.

Yet, another of the bearish signals is rising USA oil production, which is threatening to derail OPEC's and Russia's efforts to tighten supplies.

Expectations of another drain on USA crude oil inventories supported a soft increase in oil prices early Tuesday, though a reversal may be overdue. In both 2018 and 2019, EIA expects total global production to be slightly greater than global consumption, with US production increasing faster than production in any other country, contributing to modestinventory builds.

The rally has brought out some concerns that the market could overheat, especially as US production is expected to rise to new records.

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USA demand growth of 150,000 bpd was estimated for 2017, slightly lower than previous expectations.

Only Russia C-RU-OUT and Saudi Arabia PRODN-SA have produced more crude, hitting peak output of over 11 million bpd and about 10.7 million bpd respectively in recent years.

"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.

In the Bakken production is expected to average 1.2 million bpd this year and 1.3 million bpd in 2019, up from 1.1 million bpd in 2017.

Liquefied natural gas gross exports are forecast to average 3 bcf per day in 2018, up from 1.9 bcf in 2017.

China, by far Asia's biggest oil consumer, is now producing so much fuel that its refiners have turned to exports to find buyers. United States gasoline stocks rose 4.1 million barrels, EIA data showed, more than expected, while Singapore average refinery profit margins have fallen below $6 per barrel this month, their lowest seasonal level in five years.

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