Oil prices drop as OPEC crude production increases

Oil market remains volatile

Oil prices rose to a two-week high yesterday, extending a rally into a sixth straight session after a decline in weekly United States production eased concerns about deepening oversupply.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose over 7% last week while West Texas Intermediate, the US gauge, gained 6.5%, with both benchmarks pushed higher by data showing the first decline in USA oil-drilling activity since January.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for August delivery were marked 0.3% higher at $46.17 by mid-day in London after hitting an intraday price of $46.43, the highest since June 14.

Omran al-Zwai, a spokesman for Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), an NOC subsidiary, said output had been as high as 950,000 bpd in recent days, rising from about 885,000 bpd at the start of last week.

Oil prices may comfortably remain in the $40 to $60 range for the year, with some potential upside to that range in 2018 as the global expansion causes a steady increase in demand.

The negative sentiment in the oil market lingers with USA stocks increasing and with good news and bad news trading headline places daily.

They cut their forecast for average 2017 Brent crude prices to $50 a barrel from $54 and WTI to $47 from $52.

Lingering worries about oversupply have knocked 16 percent off Brent crude so far this year, despite a deal involving OPEC members and some other major producers to curb production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

Furthermore, in a trading statement released last week, Tullow raised its profit guidance for the first six months of the year - which is a positive development. The shale boom and domestic unrest quickly forced Nigeria out of the USA oil trade. Gartman said US technology will expand to Russia, Mexico, China the Middle East and Africa. American production is now at 9.3 million barrels a day. Iraq is a member of the OPEC-led effort to balance the market, thought it raised questions about the agreement previous year.

OPEC and non-OPEC technical committee on production enforcement was said to have examined the scenario including Nigeria and Libya's exempt in the production cuts. Production this year could reach 30,000 barrels of oil per day.

"That arithmetic ought to persuade OPEC and Russian Federation of the value of sticking with it, maybe cutting sufficient extra barrels to offset Libya and Nigeria increases and reaping the reward of higher overall 2017 revenues", said Fyfe.

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