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Oil dips over doubts high OPEC compliance with agreed cuts will last

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices dipped on Wednesday over concerns that OPEC producers would not be able to maintain their high compliance so far with output cuts aimed at reining in a global fuel supply overhang.

Brent crude was trading at $55.83 per barrel at 0800 GMT (3 a.m. ET), down 14 cents from its last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 23 cents at $52.97 per barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia agreed in December to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017.

BMI Research said that, based on an estimated compliance with planned production cuts of 92.8 percent by OPEC alone, output was down 1.08 million bpd, led primarily by deep cuts from OPEC’s de-facto leader Saudi Arabia.

But BMI warned that a compliance rate of just 40 percent by Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, “could prove problematic to group cohesion” as others will have to go beyond their targets to meet the overall goal for the first half of 2017.

Some traders said upcoming oil field maintenance across the Middle East might help the group achieve production cuts.

Yet overall, analysts said oil markets remain well supplied despite the OPEC-led cuts, in part due to a 6.5 percent rise in U.S. oil output since mid-2016 to 8.98 million bpd.

U.S. bank Citi said that it was lowering its 2Q 2018 and 4Q 2018 oil price forecasts by $1 a barrel.

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Written by Henning Gloystein

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