USA oil inventories fell as prices up

USA oil inventories fell as prices up

USA oil inventories fell as prices up

US oil stockpiles fell across the board last week with gasoline and distillates drawing down more than expected on stronger demand, sending crude prices to fresh three-and-a-half-year highs.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery climbed as much as $1.33 to $67.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since December 2014.

The price of the North American oil benchmark closed above $68 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest level since 2014 as USA data showed inventories plunged by more than one million barrels last week.

USA crude and gasoline inventories fell last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report on Tuesday, in contrast to forecasts for a build in US government data later.

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OPEC's ministerial committee tasked with monitoring the group's supply-cutting deal with non-OPEC countries, led by Russian Federation, meets in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Friday. June Brent, the global crude benchmark, gained $1.90, or 2.7%, to $73.48 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, which marked the highest settlement since November 26, 2014. In its latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said that USA shale production is expected to increase by 125,000 bpd in May over April, with the Permian production surging by 73,000 bpd, Eagle Ford's-by 24,000 bpd, and the Bakken's by 15,000 bpd. Daily crude oil processing averaged 16.9 million barrels, down slightly from 17 million barrels a week earlier.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 rival producers have restrained output by a joint 1.8 million barrels per day since January 2017 and pledged to do so until the end of this year.

Refinery crude runs fell by 70,000 barrels per day as utilization rates fell by 1.1 percentage points to 92.4 percent of total capacity, the EIA data showed.

"Gasoline demand was very strong, virtually summer-like".

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The weekly measurement on demand may be "overstated", but "suggests that some driving season weeks in 2018 will see more than 10 million [barrels a day] in gasoline demand, unless there is a disincentive tied to a much more radical increase in gas prices", said Kloza.

May natural gas ended little changed at $2.739 per million British thermal units. "They need higher prices".

Higher oil prices were good news for the TSX, which gained 176 points to close at 15,529.

Elsewhere, the reported arrest of two Chevron Corp.

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"Despite an oil price of over $70 per barrel and the fact that the oversupply has been eliminated, a phase-out of the production cuts will not be on the agenda", Fritsch said.

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