Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Iraqi Oil Production Exceeded 4.5 Million Barrel Per Day in February

Iraqi Oil Production Exceeded 4.5 Million Barrel Per Day in February

For Saudi Arabia, economists at OPEC reported total crude oil production increased to more than 10 million barrels per day last month, even as the country leads the effort to balance the market.

"The current prices are sufficient to support increased activity".

Hence, markets latch on to every statement by Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid-al-Falih.

That brought the total count to 631, the most since September 2015, underlining concerns that the ongoing rebound in US shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand. OPEC nations agreed to cut production in November that would begin in January. The drop was triggered by rising U.S. oil inventories and shale output. It closed the previous session down 1.6 percent at $51.37.

The slump in prices has occurred as more rigs are deployed to look for oil in the United States and as crude inventories in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer, have surged to a record.

Also, the Federal Reserve Bank announced it will raise the benchmark short-term interest rate by a quarter-point and possibly raise interest rates more this year.

EIA noted that gasoline supplies fell by 3.1 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles dropped 4.2 million barrels last week, too.

"The soothing comments from Saudi Arabia and the first, small drop in U.S. oil inventories this year helped stop crude oil's aggressive price correction", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

If crude inventories remain high, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could extend its oil output cut deal, the Saudi energy minister said on Thursday.

Minister Al-Falilh, speaking at an energy conference in Houston, said Saudi Arabia can not be the swing producer any longer.

Bullish bets on crude futures and options my hedge funds and money managers dropped by 86,582 contracts to 315,077 up to March 14, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said Friday, marking the third straight weekly decline and capturing much of the recent decline in prices. OPEC members are scheduled to meet again on May 25 in Vienna to evaluate it production decline policy.

Analysts say speculative investors are likely to keep reducing bullish positions, thanks to optimism amongst US producers boosting drilling activity, which in part will offset OPEC attempts at reducing supply. The opinions expressed are exclusively of the author.

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