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17 July 2017, 05:05 | Justin Tyler
Brent crude futures rose 0.6 per cent to $47/b while U.S. crude oil futures were yesterday up 0.7 per cent at $44.51/b. Oil and Gas Investor reports in its article Oil Prices On Track For Solid Weekly Gains Following Positive Demand Signals that Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A) declared force majeure on exports of Nigeria's Bonny Light crude oil due to the closure of one of its two export pipelines, boosting both benchmarks.
Nigeria and Libya have been invited to a joint meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC on July 24 in St Petersburg, Russia.
"The most pronounced inventory reduction in the U.S.in 10 months and the resulting decline in US crude oil stocks to below the 500 million-barrel mark in the last reporting week have clearly prompted a shift in sentiment", said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.
Opec and the non-cartel members party to the deal will meet in Russian Federation on July 24 to review the deal's effects.
Two days after (Thursday), oil prices were higher after evidence of stronger demand balanced reports of higher production by key OPEC exporters in a downbeat report by the International Energy Agency.
Meanwhile, on a longer term horizon, the focus has switched from when "peak oil" will be reached - the moment oil extraction starts to decline due to dwindling resources - to when demand itself could fall. So far, they have had hardly any effect, with oil prices still around US$45 a barrel.
Still, oil stocks remained comfortably above the five-year average and prices were more than 15% below their 2017 highs.
A ministerial committee from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which is headed by Gulf OPEC member Kuwait, meets in Russian Federation on July 24 to discuss compliance with the cuts, from which Nigeria and Libya are exempted due to years of output-sapping unrest.
Analysts at Commerzbank said a reduction in the developed world's oil stocks was likely to continue, as long as OPEC did not further significantly increase its output.
This added to an IEA report raising its demand estimate.
Mohammad Barkindo, secretary-general for OPEC, told Bloomberg television that his cartel was anticipating a revival in production from Libya, Nigeria, and Iran when it set a targeted output range from 32.5 million to 33 million bpd under its agreement and has flexible targets to accommodate more crude from the three countries.
Oil prices are less than half their mid-2014 level because of a persistent glut, even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russian Federation and other non-OPEC producers cut supplies since January.
US oil production has also risen by more than 10% over the past year to 9.4 million bbl/d.
"The market is having difficulty picking its head up", said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
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