Oil prices edge higher on Forties outage, falling stocks

Oil prices edge higher on Forties outage, falling stocks

Oil prices edge higher on Forties outage, falling stocks

The International Energy Agency said on Thursday that U.S. shale oil production would help non-OPEC output grow faster than it had previously forecast next year.

"A lot could change in the next few months but it looks as if the producers' hopes for a happy New Year with de-stocking continuing into 2018, at the same 500 kb/d pace we have seen in 2017, may not be fulfilled", the IEA said.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark for the price of oil and a component of the basket of oils carried by the Forties system, was up 0.28 percent as of 9:15 a.m. EST to $63.52 per barrel.

But the IEA warned that "when our USA outlook is added to expectations for the other producers, output from non-OPEC countries could rise by 1.6 million per day in 2018, an increase of 200,000 bpd to our [previous] forecast". "The IEA report wasn't overwhelmingly negative" and the non-OPEC supply forecast "is not set in stone".

With cash pouring into the US shale oil industry, the United States is on track to deliver up to 80 percent of the world's oil production gains through 2025, the IEA estimates.

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The IEA noted that output was lower in Saudi Arabia, Angola and Venezuela, and that compliance with agreed cuts rose to 115 percent, the highest this year, and lifted the 2017 average to 91 percent. Stocks fell by 5.1 million barrels in the week to December 8, the fourth consecutive week of decline, to 442.99 million barrels, the lowest since October 2015. Chinese crude stocks likely fell in October for the first time in a year.

Oil prices wavered between gains and losses on Thursday, as traders weighed higher oil output against a major pipeline outage. All the results of the outage are seen as helping OPEC in its mission to reduce global inventories. The contract hit a high of $65.70 a barrel earlier in the day. That is nearly twice the decline of analysts' expectations for a drop of 3.8 million barrels.

The IEA said for the time being and in response to the Forties pipeline incident, it has reduced its estimate for United Kingdom production in December by 300 kb/d, and will revisit this as the situation becomes clearer.

One trading source said late on Tuesday that a tanker at Hound Point had not been able to take on all of its scheduled load of crude oil because the system was "running dry". For the producers at least, 2017 has been encouraging.

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