Petrostates Seek a Goldilocks Oil Price

He said the UAE was satisfied by the high level of compliance with the current agreement by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut back oil production, and that this compliance would have a direct bearing on the general positive movement of non-OPEC partners in the agreement.

Data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that US commercial crude inventories decreased by one million barrels from one week ago, falling to 532.3 million. Gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels, despite heavier refining activity.

"The glaring rise in USA gasoline refined product inventories, in combination with persistent lower-48 production growth, keeps us cautious on oil prices", said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors LLC in NY.

Brent crude futures were up 27 cents at $55.16 a barrel at 1106 GMT, while US crude futures were up 20 cents at $52.61.

The price increases on Thursday followed a more than 3.5 percent drop in both crude benchmarks during the previous session after the EIA reported surging gasoline inventories as well as another rise in US crude oil production to 9.25 million barrels per day (bpd), up nearly 10 percent since mid-2016 (C-OUT-T-EIA).

Oil prices fall on expected continued increase in U.S. shale output
The IEA sees global growth of 485,000 barrels a day in output this year, compared with a decline of 790,000 barrels a day in 2016. In the oil patch, United States drillers last week added rigs for a 13th straight week, a sign output gains there will continue.

"OPEC and Russian Federation would love to see the price higher but it requires a not yet achieved 100 percent non-OPEC compliance, combined with a slowdown in USA production growth", Hansen told UPI in response to emailed questions.

China's March gasoline output rose 2.5 percent year on year to 11.24 million tonnes, the highest level since at least April 2014, data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday, adding fuel into an Asian market that is already well supplied.

But Barkindo said at a conference in Abu Dhabi that the cartel and other top nonmember producers are committed to keeping global crude inventories below the five-year average.

In parallel, imports declined by 68,000 barrels a day last week to 7.8m barrels, while domestic oil output rose slightly.

While there is a risk of further "verbal intervention" from OPEC officials - something that has time and time again boosted energy stock and oil prices since a production freeze agreement was first teased in February 2016 - the sector looks vulnerable for further losses. This week, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a review of whether the lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the United States' national interests.

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