Supply discipline and demand to prop up oil prices in 2018

01 January, 2018, 03:48 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Brent weekly chart

Benchmark futures are up more than 11 percent in 2017, after going into a bull market in September. In 2018, investors will watch whether rising prices trigger a new flood of United States output, reported Blooomberg.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $60.21 a barrel, up 37 cents or 0.6% from their last close, after hitting a June 2015 high of $60.32 earlier in the day.

U.S. exports to Asia have already increased with higher Middle East oil prices because of the OPEC-led output cuts and a wide WTI-Brent spread.

Oil topped natural gas as the biggest source of electricity in New England on Thursday morning, after temperatures plunged well below freezing.

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U.S. oil production, which has risen more than 16 percent since mid-2016, is expected to surpass 10 million bpd next year, some analysts said.

In the most recent week, U.S. production dipped modestly to 9.75 million bpd from 9.79 mln bpd the previous week.

For now, shale drillers are showing restraint, with the number of working rigs unchanged for the second week in a row, according to Baker Hughes data released on Friday.

Trading was typically thin at the end of the year, with many traders still on holidays. That could undermine plans by the Opec and and other producers, including Russian Federation, who have pledged to extend production curbs through the end of 2018 to wipe out a global glut.

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The survey of 32 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude would average US$59.88 a barrel in 2018, up from the US$58.84 forecast in the previous monthly poll.

Crude oil were lower on Friday as expectations OPEC and other producers will extend their production cut agreement were offset by forecasts US output will continue to grow with prices holding near 28-month highs.

Inventories are now down by nearly 20% from their historic highs last March and well below this time a year ago or in 2015.

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