Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Oil industry anxious about peak demand - not peak production: strategist

Oil industry anxious about peak demand - not peak production: strategist

"The market is reacting in anticipation of refineries restarting at the same time expecting a decline in demand due to the after effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma", he said.

USA crude stocks rose sharply last week as refinery output declined further in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, causing gasoline stocks and distillate inventories to drop as well, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

The agency, which coordinates energy policies of industrial nations, raised its 2017 global oil demand growth estimate to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.5 million bpd. Production among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell from its 2017 peak in July as the bloc took efforts to comply with its previous agreement.

According to China's official customs data, the last crude exports to North Korea were in December 2013 at 92,223 tonnes with a total of 578,002 mt (4.24 million barrels) exported to the country that year.

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Investors anticipated a rise in US crude inventories ahead of official data due later on Wednesday.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 3.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.5 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Oversupply has kept a lid on oil prices which have hovered in a tight range of US$50-52 per barrel for Brent crude and US$47-49 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude.

The IEA's stronger demand estimates have helped lift oil prices, Matthew Beck, managing director of a $8-billion oil and natural gas bond and private-equity portfolio at John Hancock Financial Services Inc.in Boston, said by telephone.

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The OPEC of which Saudi Arabia is the leader, and other producers including Russian Federation, have agreed to trim their output by almost 1.8 million bpd until next March. Keeping that aside, United States oil inventories have declined by ~70 million barrels since the end of March. Net, we project a larger - in fact record large - crude inventory build but smaller product draws in the coming week than previously.

The EIA forecasts North Sea Brent crude spot prices to average $51 per barrel in 2017 and $52 per barrel in 2018.

Oil prices are weighed down by concerns the world has reached the limits of demand, which is crippling valuations more than the threat from electric cars and national policies geared at banning vehicles running on gasoline and diesel in the future, according to RBC's chief commodities strategist.

An OPEC-led supply cut deal is helping rebalance the global oil market, OPEC's secretary-general said on Monday, noting that higher demand in the rest of this year should lead to further reductions in oil inventories.

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