Oil Hovers Near 3-Week Low Amid High Stock Levels

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The resurgence of shale production poses a direct challenge to OPEC's attempt to rebalance the global oil market while protecting its market share. The non-OPEC members who had supported the cuts have achieved 60 percent compliance at the moment.

This comes on the heels of Russian Federation, which in December pledged to reduce supply by as much as 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), failing last month to pump lower than its January output figure of 11.1 million bpd.

So far, Russia's cuts have amounted to around 100,000 bpd. In the last two months, OPEC producers slashed nearly 90% of agreed cuts and they have indicated a strong commitment to the production cut agreement. An extension of the cuts would certainly help shrink the glut, but the longer the deal wears on, the more likely will be the risk for fabricated statistics.

The deal is effective until the end of June.

Iraq announced in February that it has increased its estimated crude oil reserves by 7% to 153 billion barrels. Shipments from the southern Iraqi port of Basra grew by 10 percent, while sales by the Kurdish Regional Government in the north of the country were up 13 percent. While Saudi Arabia's February crude shipments fell again, indicating Opec's top producer is cutting deeper than it pledged, USA stockpiles expanded by 1.5 million barrels last week.

The US crude oil production continued to power ahead at 9.03 million barrels per day (bpd).

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United States inventories of oil rose by 1.5 million barrels to 520.2 million barrels in the week ended February 24, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) weekly oil report.

USA production rose 0.3% to 9.032 million barrels per day, hitting the highest level in almost a year.

Prices declined to a three-week low on Thursday, impacted by a surprise growth in USA oil inventories to a record level in history.

USA crude oil increased 0.19% in Asian trading on Friday after a loss of more than 2% in the recent session.

Crude oil prices are still a shadow of what they one were, which leaves a lot of upside potential.

ETF Trends publisher Tom Lydon spoke with John Love, President & CEO of USCF, at the Inside ETFs conference that ran January 22-25, 2017 to talk the recovery in crude oil prices. The market is rather steady at the moment and we do not expect any firm trends next week. Besides, market has been benefiting from contango where prices for later delivery are higher than those for immediate dispatch. Bunker prices may continue changing irregular.

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