Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Oil surges as OPEC signals deal, supply risks mount

Bloomberg

Oil closed at its highest in more than two years for a second day on Friday as support grew for OPEC to prolong output cuts, while supply threats abounded.

Futures jumped 2 percent in New York, closing above US$55 a barrel for the first time since July 2015.

While Nigerian militants and Venezuela’s debt woes imperil crude output from two of the world’s chief suppliers, the overarching bullish factor remained the increasing prospects for an extension of the OPEC-led curbs to be decided as early as this month.

In the US, oil rigs declined by the most in more than a year, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) surpassing Thursday’s intraday high also provided upward momentum later in the session.

OPEC has indicated “they are looking to extend the agreement through the end of 2018,” Andrew Lebow, senior partner at Commodity Research Group, said by telephone. “We’ve made a new high and the fundamentals have finally improved.”

Oil has surged on signs that global inventories are shrinking and OPEC and allied producers might stick to their glut-killing accord beyond its March next year expiration.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait — which together pump more than 50 percent of OPEC’s crude — signaled firm support for an extension that would forestall a re-emergence of the glut next year.

“OPEC chatter also sounds like both the Saudis and Kuwait are both game for extending the deal sooner rather than later,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc in New York, said by telephone.

WTI for December delivery advanced US$1.10 to settle at US$55.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and climbed for a fourth week. Total volume traded was about 13 percent below the 100-day average. The contract is up 3.2 for the week.

Brent for January settlement added US$1.45 to end the session at US$62.07 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 2.7 percent for the week. The global benchmark traded at a premium of US$6.21 to January WTI.

The US oil rig count fell by eight to 729, according to Baker Hughes Inc data on Friday. That is the lowest level since May.

A group of the Nigerian militants, who inflicted devastating attacks on oil installations last year, pledged to resume their campaign in Africa’s second-largest crude producer.

In Venezuela, home to the world’s largest tranche of reserves, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans to refinance or restructure sovereign debt, a destabilizing move that might impede the state-controlled oil producer’s ability to do business.

Oil market news:

‧ EOG Resources Inc took the wraps off two new chunks of land in the Permian Basin and Oklahoma that tack on an estimated 750 million barrels of oil to its portfolio.

‧ Repsol SA reported a third-quarter profit from oil exploration and production, rebounding from a year-earlier loss, as it emulated the earnings performance of its larger European peers.

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