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The Saudi Dilemma: To Cut Or Not To Cut

All eyes this weekend will…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Oil Prices Slip After EIA Reports Builds Across The Board

A day after the American Petroleum Institute took the market by surprise reporting a 6.513-million-barrel build in inventories, the Energy Information Administration confirmed inventories had risen last week but by “just” 1.9 million barrels.

Analysts had largely expected a decline in inventories, although a minority were prepared for another weekly build.

Gasoline inventories, the EIA said, went up by 900,000 barrels last week, after a 3.3-million-barrel decline in the week before. Gasoline production in the week to November 10 averaged 9.9 million barrels daily, versus 10.2 million bpd in the previous week. Refineries ran at 91 percent of capacity, processing 16.6 million bpd of crude oil, compared with 16.3 million bpd a week earlier.

This week has so far seen several oil market-quakes that have affected prices seriously enough for EIA’s figures to add their own force to the blows rattling the markets.

First, the International Energy Agency revised down its oil demand growth estimates for this year and next, by 100,000 bpd in each case, now expecting oil demand growth this year to average 1.5 million bpd, which will next year slow down to 1.3 million bpd.

Then Orbital Insight released new data about Saudi Arabia and China. The satellite imaging analysts said in a tweet that they had identified 624 floating roof storage tanks in Saudi Arabia, almost twice as many as industry databases have. That comes after Orbital warned that the level of stored oil in the Kingdom may be a lot higher than officially reported. Related: Why Canadian Crude Trades At Such A Steep Discount

Then the same company had some good news for optimists, reporting that China was once again filling up its oil tanks, after two months of declines in oil storage amounts.

While the news about Saudi Arabia will likely have a negative effect on prices, the Chinese report is definitely bullish. However, this bullishness may not achieve much, amid doubts that everyone is on board with extending the OPEC and Russia’s production cut agreement until the end of 2018.

At the time of writing, WTI was trading at US$55.08 a barrel and Brent crude was at US$61.52, both down by more than a percent since close yesterday.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Craig Woerpel on November 15 2017 said:
    Distillates were down 800K, so not really "across the board" gains if you are counting crude, gasoline and distillates. I know official figures exclude the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but it was down another 700K this week, or 26 mb since February, if anyone cares. I think it should count too.

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