Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

OPEC figures show oil output cuts exceed pledge in March

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $53.56 a barrel, also their highest level since early last month.

"Most Russian producers have reduced production month-over-month since January", the report from Platts read.

The agency said non-OPEC signatories, including Russian Federation and Oman, raised their compliance rate to 64 percent, from 38 percent in February.

Brent crude futures were down 17 cents at $56.06 a barrel by 10:43 a.m. EDT (1543 GMT), having touched a one-month high of $56.65.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for May fell 1.4 cents to $1.749 a gallon, while May heating oil rose 0.5 cents to $1.655 a gallon. The June WTI contract traded at a $2.43 premium to Brent.

Canada continued to be the largest source of US crude oil imports in 2016, providing a record 3.3 million b/d, or 41% of total USA imports-more than all Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) combined. The world's biggest crude exporter hasn't made a final decision yet.

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OPEC and other producers, including Russian Federation, agreed late in November to curb output by around 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017 to rein in oversupply. The group is scheduled to gather in Vienna on May 25.

The government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday that USA 2018 crude output would rise to 9.9-million barrels per day, from 9.22-million barrels per day in 2017. "Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 3 million barrels last week, but are in the upper half of the average range", said the report.

"The API was indeed bullish", Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA NY, said by telephone.

"Indeed, a look at data from various sources shows stocks drawing in some non-OECD countries over (the first quarter of 2017)".

The group's in-house analysts peg demand for the group's crude at 32.2 million bpd in 2017, suggesting bulging global inventories should start to tighten this year if their assessment is correct and output levels are maintained, even as a recovery in prices has spurred a jump in production from the United States shale patch. Prices are still up from about $42 a barrel a year ago, and OPEC was upbeat on the outlook for the market. The lower price brings these projects into direct competition with onshore shale plays, offering oil companies increased planning options.

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