Oil prices keep rising amid supportive comments

A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at PetroChina's petrol station in Beijing

The market was bolstered modestly by data showing a sharp decline in USA production last week. At these prices, shale oil production becomes more economical in more areas.

Traders following the trend line pushed the price of oil close to $70 per barrel early Wednesday following signs of a massive drain on US oil inventories.

Mumbai: The continuing surge in crude prices, which has touched Dollars 70 per barrel-mark, the highest since December 2014, is likely to continue till March, impacting inflation, balance of payments and fiscal policy, says a report. EIA forecasts the US average regular retail gasoline price will average $2.57/gallon (gal) in 2018 and $2.58/gal in 2019, slightly higher than the $2.42/gal average in 2017. In 2019, crude oil production is forecast to rise to an average of 10.8 million b/d.

USA crude production is forecast to average 10.3 million bpd in 2018, which would be the highest annual average US production, surpassing a previous record of 9.6 million bpd in 1970. OPEC and non-OPEC participants agreed on November 30, 2017, to extend production cuts through the end of 2018 in an effort to reduce global oil inventories.

Meanwhile, US production is showing signs of levelling after after huge shale oil output in the past two years.

Production from the Permian is expected to be 3.6 million bpd by the end of 2019, an increase of roughly 900,000 bpd from December 2017, and 32 percent of USA crude oil production in 2019.

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Most of the remaining growth will come from offshore wells in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with seven new projects expected to come online by the end of 2019, the agency said.

On the other hand, higher crude prices will increase price of natural gas which in turn will increase input cost for fertiliser and petrochemical companies that use fertilisers as a feedstock and increase the price of city gas distributors and power companies.

Worldwide, the EIA sees oil consumption rising by about 1.7 mb/d in both 2018 and 2019, led by stronger demand from China and India. The EIA feels the $61/b figure will be driven by slow, but increasing consumption levels that will be offset somewhat by higher global production.

That's bad news for the USA coal industry and Donald Trump ambitions to restore coal's fortunes.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said Tuesday that prices this year were supported in part by OPEC commitments, but also by demand strains from severe winter weather. The agency increased its demand estimates for 2018 to 470,000 bpd from 410,000 bpd.

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