Oil rises as Saudi Arabia says producers will cooperate beyond 2018
Oil prices climbed on Monday, pushed higher by comments from Saudi Arabia that cooperation between oil producers who are currently withholding supplies in an effort to prop up the market would continue beyond 2018. As Reuters writes in an article "Oil rises as Saudi Arabia says producers will cooperate beyond 2018", traders note that a drop in U.S. drilling activity and fighting in Syria between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters also supported crude.
Brent crude futures were at $68.81 at 0228 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. Brent on Jan. 15 hit its highest since December, 2014, at $70.37 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.55 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last settlement. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Jan. 16.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said on Sunday that major oil producers were in agreement that they should continue cooperating on production after their deal on supply cuts expires this year. “There is a readiness to continue cooperation beyond 2018...The mechanism hasn’t been determined yet, but there is a consensus to continue,” Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih said in Oman.
A group of major oil producers around OPEC and Russia started to withhold production in January last year in order to prop up prices, and the deal is currently set to expire at the end of 2018.
In the United States, a drop in drilling activity for new oil production further supported crude. U.S. drillers cut five oil rigs in the week to Jan. 19, bringing the count down to 747, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday. Despite this, the rig count in 2017 and early this year remains much higher than in 2016, resulting in a 16-percent rise in U.S. production since mid-2016, to 9.75 million barrels per day.
Analysts said oil markets had lost some steam since the middle of January, when prices hit their highest levels since late 2014. Bernstein Energy said on Monday that after recent falls in global oil inventories, stocks might start rising again soon due, especially due to a slowdown in demand which typically happens at the end of the northern hemisphere winter season. “We expect supply and demand will come back into balance in 1Q18 resulting in an end to the strong (inventory) draws we have seen...With the strong correlation between inventories and crude prices, this perhaps means we should expect crude prices to moderate in the near term,” Bernstein said.