Oil price falls as US output capacity rises

on Dec 5, 2017
Updated: Oct 11, 2019

The oil price fell a little Tuesday, on news the US’ oil output capacity rose again last week. That news comes just days after OPEC and some non-OPEC members, confirmed their decision to extend the current output cap until the end of 2018.

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At around 1130 BST, the price of Brent Crude oil was down 0.26% at $62.29 per barrel. The price of US WTI, meanwhile, was 0.49% lower at $57.19 per barrel.

US oil rigs rise

While uncertainty surrounding last week’s OPEC meeting has now been removed from the market, investors are keeping a close watch on output details. And, the latest data suggests US oil production is likely on the up.

Recent figures from Baker Hughes, show that between November 22 and December 1, there were two additional US oil rigs online. That’s an increase of 57% from the same period a year earlier. It also means the number of US rigs was at around a three-month high.

Meanwhile, output among OPEC members, declined by 300,000 barrels per day during November, according to a Reuters survey. That’s the lowest level since May 2017 and underscores the compliance to the output cap among those producers involved in the agreement.

OPEC to look to 2019 in June

Amid the oil output issues, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih mentioned some small details about OPEC’s plans for the future, beyond 2018.

Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh on Monday, al-Falih is reported as saying OPEC won’t alter it’s 2018 course unless something unexpected and significant occurs.

“We will not alter our course in the second half of the year,” al-Falih said Monday. “We think that the outlook for when we will hit the balanced market will be clearer in June, and we will start thinking of what do we do in 2019,” al-Falih added.

OPEC members have the capacity to easily ramp up oil output, should the need occur. Collectively, OPEC members have almost 2 million barrels of spare capacity to draw on.


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