Saudi crude output to fall to 9.8 million bpd in March: Falih

The Opec+ cuts are taking effect and US data is starting to reflect these changing market conditions. — Reuters  file

World oil markets have been on a rollercoaster ride in recent months, with the OPEC+ group agreeing to cut back production again from January in order to reverse a slump in oil prices on abundant production and worries about slower global growth.

International Brent crude futures were up 1 percent, or 65 cents, at $63.07 per barrel.

Oil prices rallied yesterday amid signs that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC's) production cuts are taking hold.

In its monthly report released yesterday, OPEC said its crude output fell 797,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January compared with the prior month.

TransCanada is beginning fix and restoration work on the Keystone crude oil pipeline following an oil spill, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Futures in NY closed up 1.5 percent, reaching the highest point in a week. The improvement in the global risk tone has also provided a lift for Brent crude futures.

Previous pacts by OPEC and its partners including Russian Federation, often called OPEC+, to cut back production have been marked by initial low compliance rates by certain countries.

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However, analysts are warning that record U.S. supply and anticipated economic slowdown later this year might start capping the world's oil markets.

The "call" on OPEC crude is now forecast at 30.7 million bpd in 2019, down from the IEA's last estimate of 31.6 million bpd in January.

Venezuela's diminished importance in the global oil market and as a supplier to the United States has emboldened the USA administration to take a tough approach in attempting to oust the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The March production figure means Saudi would be voluntarily cutting output by more than 500,000 bpd below its pledged production level under a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russian Federation.

The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of USA sanctions.

While US crude production is expected to grow by an amount that exceeds Venezuela's current output, the IEA warned that quantity is not the only important issue.

According to the agreement clinched in December, Saudi Arabia alone has reportedly reduced production of crude by almost 400,000 barrels per day to 10.24 million barrels. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

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