Rising US output threatens global oil market balance

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Paris, Dec 14 The International Energy Agency said today that the global oil supply could grow faster than demand in the early part of 2018, but the market could balance out later in the year. Inventories remain 111 million barrels above the five-year average however.

United States shale oil would account for the bulk of that, with output now seen increasing by 1.05m b/d in 2018, that was 180,000 b/d more than previously estimated which was on top of a 610,000 b/d rise in the previous month.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 30 cents to $56.30 a barrel, down from a high of $56.93.

The IEA forecast the greatest growth at an average of 1.1 million barrels a day in 2018, making it hard to envisage further falls in global oil stocks. "The baseline for oil demand has been raised by roughly 0.2 mb/d", said the report. In September, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. output rose by 290,000 barrels a day to almost 9.5 million barrels a day, almost a million more than 2016 production.

Brent crude oil spot prices will average $57/Bbl in 2018, up from an average $54/Bbl in 2017, STEO projects. Brent crude oil have surged this, breaking above $65 per barrel and hitting its highest level in more than two years after the major Forties pipeline in the North Sea was shut down for repairs.

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Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock-the benchmark gasoline contract-rose 0.7% to $1.66 a gallon.

Even so, commenting on the data Thomas Pugh at Capital Economics believed producer countries were still underestimating by how much USA production would rise.

The largest increase among the members came from Nigeria, whose production in November jumped by 95,800 bpd from October to 1.790 million bpd, according to OPEC's secondary sources.

In a deal struck in November, OPEC and other producers including Russian Federation agreed to extend supply cuts which began in January through 2018 as it targets bringing stocks in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development back in line with their five-year average.

Hence, the market was still likely to be in a small surplus in 2018, Pugh said.

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