USA energy agency sees higher oil prices, more oil in 2018

USA energy agency sees higher oil prices, more oil in 2018

Oil prices rose yesterday as industry data showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in USA crude stockpiles, while expectations for an extended shutdown of a major North Sea crude pipeline also continued to bolster markets.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies fell by 5.1 million barrels for the week ended December 8.

US crude imports rose last week by 433,000 barrels per day. On Wednesday morning, its operator said it was still considering fix options and reiterated that any repairs would take several weeks.

The shutdown-following the discovery of cracks in parts of the infrastructure-caused Brent crude to temporarily jump above US$65 a barrel and after that continued to trade closer to that than to US$60.

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The Forties pipeline carries crude North Sea oil across sea and land for processing at Grangemouth. "Now, we're basically where we were a month ago", Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix consultancy said. The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday had reported a drop of 7.4 million barrels, according to sources.

Crude inventories fell by 5.1 million barrels in the week to Dec 15, compared with analysts' expectations for an decrease of 3.8 million barrels.

An early morning rally Tuesday was spoiled, meanwhile, by an estimate from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that total U.S. oil production next year could set a record at 10 million barrels per day. Media reports stated that Ineos, which recently became the owner of the pipeline, said a shutdown was the safest way forward after a small hairline crack was found in the pipeline, which carries about 450,000 barrels per day, or 40% of United Kingdom production. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is working to erase a surplus, though that effort has been undermined by gains in US oil production.

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