Oil at highest since 2015 on inventory drawdown, Iran unrest

08 January, 2018, 03:34 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Oil at highest since 2015 on inventory drawdown, Iran unrest

Oil prices fell on Friday, dropping from highs last seen in 2015, as soaring USA production undermined a 10 percent rally from December lows that were driven by tightening supply and political tensions in OPEC member Iran.

As if to herald what might really take place later this year, and again contrary to Sen's concerns, USA production rose to 9.78 million bpd in the latest week according to the Energy Information Administration - and this plus weaker refined products demand caused West Texas Intermediate on Friday to drop 57 cents to $62.21 and Brent to fall 45 cents to $67.62 per barrel. Refinery utilization rates rose by 1 percentage points to 96.7 percent.

That was 6 cents below their last close, though still near the $62.21-high reached the previous day, which was their strongest since May, 2015.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, settled up 23 cents at $68.07 a barrel after hitting a high of $68.27 earlier in the session.

Oil price rose further above $68 a barrel yesterday to the highest since May 2015, supported by unrest in Iran that raised concerns about supply risks, cold weather in the United States (US), boosting demand and OPEC-led output cuts.

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Traders had been buying crude amid supply outages and renewed production cuts led by Opec, the producers' cartel, and Russian Federation.

Both benchmarks gained nearly 1.5% in the week when compared to the last week of 2017, as the oil market was seen still tightening and the bullish mood was fuelled by new factors.

The agency said US crude oil production increased in 2017 by more than 384,000 barrels per day (BPD), to 9.2 million barrels per day (MMBPD), based on data through September and estimates for the remainder of 2017.

That is down 20 percent from peaks last March and close to the five-year average of 420 million barrels. USA crude production continued to rise to reach 9.78mn barrels per day (mbpd) in the latest week (Reuters). Furthermore, the North Sea Forties and the Libyan pipelines are back to carrying oil. "You're seeing a little bit more of a bullish push-up in the price of oil", Mark Watkins, a Park City, Utah-based regional investment manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $142 billion in assets, said by telephone.

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