Weekly US Crude Oil Production Fell for the 1st Time since October

Weekly US Crude Oil Production Fell for the 1st Time since October

Weekly US Crude Oil Production Fell for the 1st Time since October

In late 2014, when was vacillating between roughly $60 and $80 a barrel, Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service for a plunge in crude prices over the next year.

"China's oil demand growth appears to be accelerating", investment bank Jefferies said.

U.S. crude oil production declined by 35,000 bpd (barrels per day) or 0.4% to 9,754,000 bpd from December 15 to 22, 2017, per the EIA.

"The tug-of-war between OPEC and the US will continue to pressure oil from trading above $60 a barrel in 2018", said Kim Kwangrae, a Seoul-based commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the US oil production last week fell to 9.754 million barrels per day from 9,789 a week earlier.

On the economic front, the number of rigs operating in US oil fields remained unchanged at 747 rigs this week, while gas rigs are down 2 rigs at 182, according to oilfield service firm Baker Hughes' weekly report released Friday. WTI has averaged $6 a barrel less than Brent prices since September.

The analysts theorize that large supplies of crude will head to Asia to satisfy strong demand from the region, and they pointed to US exports to that region having already increased thanks to higher Middle East oil prices because of the OPEC cuts and a wide WTI-Brent spread.

Brent futures also rose, up 1.2% to $66.92/bbl after breaking through $67 earlier this week for the first time since May 2015.

Some surveys predict that USA production could hit 10,000,000 bpd in the next few months. US crude oil exports in 2016 were 55,000 b/d greater than exports in 2015-a slower rate of growth compared with year-over-year changes in 2015 and 2014. The U.S. expects production to top 10 million barrels a day in the coming year. The inventories are now in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

China's imports at around 8.5 million bpd, already the world's biggest, are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude.

Prices also continue to be helped by pipeline outages in Libya and the North Sea, although both issues could be resolved early next year.

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