Opec finally has an upper hand on US shale


US WTI crude futures rose 1 cent to $52.66 a barrel.

Crude traders and investors in Asia also had their first chance to assess a 13th consecutive increase in the rig count by drillers of US shale oil.

Thirteen members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 11 non-OPEC members agreed to cut production by about 1.8 million barrels a day to prop up oil prices in December a year ago. Crude inventories fell 1.03 million barrels to 532.3 million last week, the agency reported Wednesday.

WTI rose 4.6 per cent to $53.40 a barrel in the report week, and traded 0.9 percent lower at $52.73 as of 12:55 p.m.in Hong Kong on Monday.

"Although the oil market will likely tighten throughout the year, overall non-OPEC production, not just in the USA, will soon be on the rise again", the IEA said in the report. "With questions hanging over USA gasoline demand, any further product builds will act as a brake on the oil price recovery".

"Rising oil output in the US remains the predominant bearish factor for prices despite growing anticipation that OPEC will extend a self-imposed cap on its oil production in the upcoming May meeting", Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy Global Gas Analytics said recently.

USA supplies of crude are still near records and more than 100 million barrels higher than the five-year average for this time of the year, data compiled from the EIA show.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which includes major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, agreed previous year to curb output and help stabilize prices.

The Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates said he saw healthy oil demand growth this year and believed inventories would fall, but it would take more time to rebalance the market.

Geopolitical concerns have helped underpin oil.

If OPEC sticks to production cuts expect oil to reach $65 dollars by the end of the year.

Official U.S. oil data is due to be published on April 19 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In politics, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a review of whether the lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the United (Shenzhen: 000925.SZ - news) States' national security interests.

Many U.S. sanctions against Iran were lifted in late 2015, allowing Tehran to boost its crude oil exports from 2016 which added to the global glut.