United States oil output climbs to two-year high

Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed weekly domestic output had jumped to its highest level in more than two years. A survey of analyst sentiments compiled early this week by S&P Global Platts revealed expectations of a 3.6 million drop in USA crude oil inventories and a 400,000 barrel decline for gasoline.

USA crude imports rose last week by 194,000 barrels per day.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $50.44 per barrel, gaining 17¢, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up by 6¢ to $46.84 a barrel, reported Reuters. Diesel futures fell 0.91 cent, or 0.58%, to $1.5653 a gallon.

US refiners are on fire running at a much higher than expected 96.1% of capacity, that's 17.6 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Gasoline stocks were unchanged, compared with analysts' expectations for a 1.1-million-barrel drop.

Moreover, the EIA data showed an uptick in gasoline and distillate stocks, which analysts at oil broker PVM Associates called "surprise builds".

The gains come after crude and Brent tumbled 1.6% and 1%, respectively, on Wednesday, as investors focused more on the big jump in average daily US oil production, and not the bigger-than-expected drop in crude inventories there.

Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8 MMBPD, down 4.7% from the same four-week period in 2016.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, shipped the least oil in nearly three years in June, just as domestic stockpiles are dwindling.

Speculation that OPEC will fail to re-balance global oil markets with its supply quota plan continues to weigh on oil prices.

OPEC together with non-OPEC producers including Russian Federation have pledged to restrict output by 1.8 bbl/d between January this year and March 2018. Investors have anxious that USA producers would rush to fill the void left by cutbacks from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major exporters that agreed to trim their output, keeping the market oversupplied. While almost 70 million bbl of inventory decreases have been reported this summer, the market is waiting for a signal after the Labor Day holiday, when demand usually tapers, he said.

  • Anthony Vega