Oil prices fall as increased USA drilling activity points to higher output

Russia Will Stick To The OPEC Deal

Russia Will Stick To The OPEC Deal

Information released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories fell by 2.6 million barrels in the last week as imports dropped.

Futures rose 0.1 percent after climbing to the highest level in more than three weeks on Tuesday.

After the decline in inventories, crude prices extended their daily gains.

Meanwhile, worries about an escalation between Saudi Arabia and Iran deepened as Crown Prince Mohammed began his two-week visit to the United States with a meeting with President Trump, during which the question of the regional balance of power was likely one of the top priorities.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday, lifted by tensions in the Middle East and healthy demand, although rising US output continued to weigh on markets.

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Economic stability in the OPEC and non-OPEC member countries is intrinsically tied to high oil prices and a balanced market with demand chasing supply, not the other way around.

"Despite all the bearish United States shale supply headlines, oil prices remain firm as. the odds that the USA will pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement continue to run very high", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, which expires on Tuesday, climbed as much as 25 cents to $62.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $62.26 by 1:47 pm in Tokyo.

Appetite for USA crude is adding to the headache facing OPEC.

Brent for May settlement gained 9 cents to $67.51 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

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Refinery crude runs rose 410,000 bpd and refinery utilization rates jumped 1.7 percentage points to 91.7 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed. A widening discount of WTI to Brent crude makes it more attractive for foreign refiners to process USA oil. The global benchmark crude traded at a $3.92 premium to WTI for the same month.

Gasoline stocks fell 1.7 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.0 million-barrel drop.

In other news, Senator Bob Corker expects Trump to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal in May according to Reuters.

Energy consultancy FGE said new US sanctions on Iran could result in a 250,000 to 500,000 bpd drop in its exports by year-end, compared with crude exports of roughly 2.0 million to 2.2 million bpd since early 2016, when sanctions were lifted.

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