Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Oil falls below $65 as United States output soars, North Sea supply restarts

Although crude oil is produced within the country, it was generally meant for domestic consumption, and the US has never been an exporter of crude-until recently, when the US Congress permitted shale-oil producers to export locally produced crude to global markets.

The rapid growth has stirred concerns that the industry is already peaking and that production forecasts are too optimistic.

Oil slid to the lowest in four weeks after US crude stockpiles increased and domestic crude production touched a record-high.

Saudi Arabia's oil production increased by 60,000 bpd to 10.10 million bpd, though still less than the amount agreed in the OPEC agreement.

The agency forecast USA crude oil output will rise by 1.26 million bpd to 10.59 million bpd in 2018.

Despite recent forecasts that crude prices are headed for a significant correction because traders have oversold the commodity, at least one notable investor says it will continue to gain value.

Oil traded near the lowest closing price in two weeks as concerns about volatility in global markets offset an unexpected drop in US inventories. IEA data shows that OECD stocks fell of 600,000 bpd in the last three quarters of 2017, the largest since 1984.

Already dragged down by a sharp increase in drilling activity in the United States, a stronger dollar resulted in crude oil prices falling even further. Brent crude futures also traded 2% lower to trade at $65.51 per barrel which is down below its 50-day moving average for the first time since the past seven months and has not slipped below $66 per barrel since last month. And refinery runs increased by an estimated 0.5 million b/d in 2017 due largely to two refinery expansions in the latter half of the year.

WTI light sweet crude oil was down 81 cents at USD63.28 an ounce.

Ongoing infrastructure expansions will likely contribute to further increases in China's crude oil imports. Over those five years, Russian Federation and Brazil significantly boosted their market shares on the Chinese market, with Russia's rising to 14 percent from 9 percent, and Brazil's imports went to 5 percent from 2 percent.

Russian Federation surpassed Saudi Arabia as China's largest source of foreign crude oil in 2016, exporting 1.2 million b/d to China in 2017 compared with Saudi Arabia's 1.0 million b/d. That was down 3 cents from their last settlement, but a recovery from a session-low of $61.33 a barrel.

USA producers have also broken into the market in India - the world's third-largest oil importer and home to the world's largest refining complex, operated by Reliance Industries.

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