Iraq, Algeria support extension of oil production cuts

OPEC sees much higher oil supply from rivals in 2017

Hope seems to be rising for Nigeria and other oil producers as oil prices rose more than 3 per cent on Wednesday, bolstered by the biggest one-week drop in USA inventories so far in 2017.

By 11:12 a.m., US crude futures CLc1 were up $1.30, or 2.8 percent, at $47.18 a barrel, and Brent crude LCOc1 rose 2.5 percent, or $1.25, to $49.98 a barrel.

But questions remain about the effectiveness of OPEC-led cuts, with OPEC member Libya saying production now exceeded 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2014 and could rise to 1.2 million bpd later this year.

Oil prices had some spring in their step midday Wednesday after US government data confirmed a larger-than-expected fall in USA crude inventories as refineries cut output.

Crude inventories fell 5.2-million barrels in the week to May 5, the US Energy Information Administration said.

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In its latest report, OPEC stated that production fell to 31.73mn bpd in April from 31.75mn in March.

U.S. crude oil production seems to be derailing the efforts made by the Opec countries as it has risen to 9.293 million barrels per day (mbd) in April 2017, the highest level since August 2015 and up 10 per cent (0.865 mbd) from July 2016's low of 8.428 mbd.

However, its estimate on average oil prices in 2017 was cut down to $52.60 a barrel for Brent and $50.68 for WTI.

In recent market action, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in June climbed 57 cents, or 1.2%, to $47.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A pick up in United States oil production has contributed to the imbalance in the market but there were signs last week that American crude inventories had fallen.

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Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell 418,000 bpd and utilization rates USOIRU=ECI dropped by 1.8 percentage points to 91.5 percent of overall capacity, after hitting a record 94.1 percent three weeks earlier, EIA data showed.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil, the worldwide benchmark, is up 1.9% at $49.89 per barrel on Wednesday, and has lost 12.4% this year.

Crude prices rose further in Asia on Thursday, building on overnight gains following an upbeat report on USA inventories.

Also supporting prices were comments from Algeria's energy minister on Wednesday that Algeria and Iraq favour extending global supply cuts when OPEC meets later this month.

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