Profit Taking Eats At Crude Oil Gains


The EIA is forecasting that the average price of gasoline for all of 2018 will be $2.57 a gallon, up from $2.42 a gallon in 2017.

At the time, political opposition to then-president Hugo Chavez organized the industrial action to force a new presidential election, resulting in the shuttering of all but 0.6 MMBPD of crude oil production.

Distillate inventories also saw a build this week of 4.685 million barrels, against a forecast of a 1.464-million-barrel build. That was also close to the previous day's high of $69.37 a barrel, which was the highest level since an intra-day spike in May 2015 and, before that, in December 2014. Traders said relatively weak China December oil data had weighed on prices.

Total US petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption is forecast to average 20.3 mb/d this year, up 2.4% from 2017, and rising by another 340,000 b/d, or 1.7%, in 2019.

At this consumption level, a dollar increase in crude price on a permanent basis will increase the oil import bill by roughly Rs 10,000 crore per annum. For 2019, EIA expects crude oil production will average 10.85 mb/d, as it rises towards the end of the year, topping 11 million barrels a day in November of next year. That level would be the highest annual average on record, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970.

Much of the production growth will be concentrated in the Permian Basin, the largest US oilfield stretching across Texas and New Mexico, said John Staub, the EIA director of the office of petroleum, natural gas and biofuels analysis.

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Because US production increases will need to compete for market share in Asia, the difference between Brent and WTI prices is supported by cost differences to get there. That compares with an average build of 6 million barrels for the same period from 2013-17.

USA commercial crude stocks fell by nearly 5 million barrels in the week to January 5, to 419.5 million barrels.

The rally has brought out some concerns that the market could overheat, especially as USA production is expected to rise to new records.

For the week ending December 29, USA gasoline production decreased 564,000 b/d to 9.682 million b/d, the smallest amount in almost four months. Also, the dollar fell in a broad sell-off after a report that China was ready to slow or halt its USA treasury purchases. Over the last two weeks, USAC gasoline imports averaged 335,000 b/d, compared with 523,000 b/d for the same period from 2013-17.

For more information on crude oil, visit the S&P Global Platts website.