Oil prices fall due to rising USA crude inventories

Oil prices fall due to rising USA crude inventories

U.S. government data showed crude inventories rose less than expected last week as imports dropped the most since November.

Traders charter supertankers like Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), in which they can store up to 2 million barrels of oil for extended periods of time, when a market situation known as contango is in place, with prices for later delivery higher than those for immediate dispatch.

"If someone told me that the OPEC cuts would be well above historic numbers, you would expect prices to be up to $60 or $65 a barrel", he said.

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Crude maintained losses after data showed a further rise in US oil rigs, but ended the week with modest gains. In the past couple of months, traders have been profiting off sending oil cargoes from the North Sea, West Africa and the Americas to the Asian markets, cutting in into the market shares of the Middle Eastern producers.

Futures in NY are still set for an advance of 1.1 per cent this week.

Zanganeh had previously played down the prospect of $70-per-barrel crude, adding that the rebound of U.S. shale oil industry and the prospect of higher production by other producers will offset the gains in crude prices. Nymex crude advanced 0.4%, while Brent crude saw a 0.3% rise. United States crude oil inventories are at an all-time high.

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USA crude stocks grew by 564,000 barrels over the week ending on Feb.17, according to the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A group of 20 oil producers, including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, have reduced their production in the past month in line with a landmark output cut agreement signed a year ago.

OPEC producers lowered their supplies by over 90% of their agreed volume in the first month of this year, indicating the strategy to prop-up prices by declining supplies. "It's a battle between how quick OPEC can cut without shale catching up", Nunan said, referring to United States drilling in shale formations that has shown an upsurge this year.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers outside the group, including Russian Federation, announced late past year that they would cut output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017, looking to drain a glut that pulled down prices from over $100 per barrel in 2014 to around $56.50 now (LCOc1).

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