Marine Link
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Oil Prices Fall as US Drillers Add Rigs

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 27, 2017

Oil prices slipped on Friday, extending losses after data suggested drilling is ramping up in the United States, easing the focus on efforts by OPEC and other producers to support prices by cutting supplies.
 
U.S. crude futures for March delivery fell 98 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $52.80 a barrel at 1:14pm EST (1814 GMT). The session high was $54.08 and the low was $52.58 a barrel.
 
Brent was down $1.15, or 2 percent, at $55.09 a barrel.
 
The U.S. weekly oil and gas rig count from Baker Hughes showed that U.S. drillers added 15 oil rigs in the week, the 12th gain in 13 weeks. That brought the total count to 566, the most since November 2015.
 
"We're in a holding pattern at this point in time," said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager at U.S. Bank Private Client Group. "Supply is a big factor right now and you have the U.S. really filling that gap that OPEC has left open."
 
For the week, U.S. crude was set for a slight gain while Brent appeared headed for a slight weekly decline.
 
For the day, prices had risen during Asian trading, though activity was thin due to the start of the Lunar New Year holiday in much of that region, including China and Singapore.
 
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017 to relieve a two-year supply overhang.
 
But U.S. oil production has been rising, with the International Energy Agency forecasting total U.S. output growth of 320,000 bpd in 2017 to an average of 12.8 million bpd.
 
Fundamental factors affected prices this week, such as gains in Iran's monthly oil exports in February and resilient production in Libya. A glitch in North Sea Buzzard crude production provided support.
 
But market participants warned of more volatility ahead as speculators react to even small developments in the physical markets.
 
"Given that speculative net long positions in Brent and WTI are already at a record-high level, the correction potential is therefore growing all the time," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said in a note.


(By Jessica Resnick-Ault; Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein and Libby George; Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)

 

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