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Oil prices stabilize after supply declined last month
by Allen Cone
Washington (UPI) Jul 13, 2017

Slow gains for oil prices in early Friday trading
Washington (UPI) Jul 14, 2017 - Crude oil prices moved between short gains and losses in early Friday trading as OPEC production figures balanced against emerging problems for U.S. shale.

Crude oil prices have been volatile this week, with several sessions seeing early-day declines erased by the end of U.S. trading. Reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency all offered fodder to drive oscillating oil prices this week.

Libya and Nigeria are adding more oil to the market in part because they're exempt from a multilateral deal to curb output as part of an OPEC-led balancing effort. In its report this week, the IEA said each month has brought with it more concerns about the effectiveness of the effort, adding confidence was waning for oil investors.

Strong demand, this week from China, has offered some support for crude oil prices. The price for Brent crude oil is up more than 3 percent for the week.

An emailed market report from London oil broker PVM said total global oil supply increased by about three quarters of a million barrels last month. Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a daily emailed newsletter that crude oil inventories were draining in a sign that rebalancing was under way. Nevertheless, operators in U.S. shale basins may be sitting on the sidelines with oil lingering in the mid- to upper-$40s.

"Shale investors put on the breaks until they see if the market starts to stabilize," he wrote.

Crude oil prices wavered between gains and losses in early Friday trading. The price for Brent crude oil was up 0.3 percent at 9:25 EDT to $48.58 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.35 percent to $46.24 per barrel.

Price may be influenced later in the trading day when oilfield services company Baker Hughes releases its weekly report on exploration and production activity. Reported as rig counts, the metric serves as a loose gauge of industry confidence, with gains showing an increased appetite for spending.

State regulators in North Dakota, home to the Bakken shale oil reserve, pointed to $45 per barrel for WTI as the deciding point for rig counts. State counts would be expected to move lower if WTI stays below $45 per barrel for more than 30 days.

Oil prices were steady Thursday despite a report that the global supply rose last month by 720,000 barrels a day to 97.46 million a day.

Light, sweet crude oil futures had increased Wednesday after a buoyant economic future by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Prices slumped upon opening but quickly recovered.

The September price for Brent crude oil was up 17 cents at 10:24 EDT to $47.91 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 20 cents percent to $45.69 per barrel for August.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency said supply rose as producers "opened the taps" daily on output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers such as the United States.

In its monthly report, OPEC said its members' combined average daily output rose by 340,000 barrels a day, mainly from Libya and Nigeria.

The two African nations are exempt from the OPEC-led deal to cut oil production as their oil production has been impacted by internal conflicts.

And production in Saudi Arabia has increased to meet summer electricity demand.

The IEA also raised its growth forecast to 1.5 percent this year to 98 million barrels a day from 100,000 barrels estimated last month.

On Thursday, Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell slightly in early July. Initial jobless claims in the period running from July 1-8 dropped by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 247,000, the Labor Department said. New applications for benefits have been below 300,000 for 123 straight weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 19.40 to 21,512.72 after reaching an all time high of 21,532. Stocks rose 123.07 points as Yellen said the central bank is likely to start reducing its massive $4.5 trillion portfolio later this year. In her semi-annual report to Congress, she gave a strong report on jobs, inflation, exports and consumer spending. The Fed also plans to keep increasing its benchmark interest rate.

"We're getting a positive reaction to her testimony," said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment strategist at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank, told CNBC. "What happened was she was more dovish than the market expected in her prepared remarks."

Total petroleum production in Norway higher than last year
Washington (UPI) Jul 13, 2017
Total petroleum production in Norway so far this is more than 1 percent, or about 9 million barrels, higher than last year, the government said. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate published data for year-to-date production. About 754 million barrels of oil equivalents were produced so far this year, with most of that existing as oil. The total production so far is about 8.8 million bar ... read more

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