IEA Report Helps Underpin Crude Oil Prices, Risk Conditions In Focus

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $53.06 a barrel.

Cairo - After the success achieved by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in cutting down oil output, Saudi Arabia told OPEC officials it wants to continue output cuts for an additional six months - however with every oil agreement, light is shed on Saudi Arabia first, then Russian Federation. United States oil imports from the kingdom declined 24 per cent in the week ended March 31, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

The kingdom - OPEC's largest producer - reduced supply below 10 million barrels a day in March, more than pledged under the deal, according to OPEC's monthly report.

However, OPEC also raised its forecast for supplies from non-member countries in 2017 as higher prices encourage USA shale drillers to pump more, reducing demand for OPEC's oil this year.

With the increasing rig count pointing to rising supply, Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging, said OPEC would be watching.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit of book squaring going on now, ahead of the USA inventory data which is due on Thursday morning Asia time", he said, also noting that current prices have attracted shale oil producers in the past.

Figures posted on Twitter by pricing group S&P Global Platts note official data from Russian Federation show March oil production at 10.3 million barrels per day, about 60,000 barrels per day less than the first two months of the year.

Several factors still offered support to oil prices. Prices increased 35 cents to $55.24 on Friday.

Pence assures Japan: America is with you '100 percent'
Pence's two main goals are to spur increased USA access to Japanese markets and strengthen Japanese foreign investment, they said. As a small, impoverished nation focused on its own survival, North Korea is deeply committed to holding on to its nuclear arms.

According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, crude oil inventories fell by 2.17 million barrels in the week ending on April 7-better than the expected inventory build of 87,000 barrels.

Saudi Arabia will decide on an extension depending on the stance of other Opec nations such as Iraq and Iran, as well as Russian Federation, which isn't a member of the group but joined the output cuts, the person familiar with the kingdom's internal discussions said.

Support is building within the OPEC to extend its oil production cuts beyond June.

Despite OPEC's cuts, oil producers around the world still put out 430,000 barrels a day more than worldwide markets could absorb in the first quarter, according to the report.

OPEC expects the output cuts to reduce excess supply weighing on the market.

Last month, Libya's output dropped by almost 9 percent, and production edged lower in the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran, Angola and other countries.

Official US production and inventory data will be published later on Wednesday by the EIA.

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