Libyan Oil Exports Rise Amid High OPEC Compliance

USA crude oil production, boosted by record high output in Texas, reached 10.038 million b/d in November, the highest level since the record 10.044 million b/d achieved in November 1970, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). As recently as 2011, the nation only produced about 5.5 million barrels a day.

Though he said he believes that the market remains oversupplied, he added that ultralight crudes "have a different market from crude below 40 degree API".

Midgley added that he was "less concerned this time about shale production growth", saying that these barrels will be needed to meet strong demand growth this year, and that producers are showing far greater fiscal discipline and focusing primarily on cash flow over output. Goldman also raised its six- and 12-month forecasts to $82.50 and $75, respectively. OPEC members are enjoying the extra income, though some in the group have expressed concern that it could encourage US shale and other supply from outside producers. The administration also has unveiled a comprehensive offshore drilling plan that, if implemented, would dramatically drive up USA production levels. The indicator was significantly higher than analysts' forecasts, which expected the stock to grow by only 126,000 barrels. The country exported nearly 3.5 million bpd from the south, the outlet for most of its crude, in a slight decline from December's record high. Middle Eastern economies took a hit as governments struggled to cope with falling crude oil prices and spending cuts.

The move was only a few weeks after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the United States was set to achieve a "explosive" growth in oil extraction that could overtake Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation this year. That may signal a further increase in USA crude output, which jumped to 9.92 million barrels a day in the seven days to January 26, the highest level since the early 1970s and close to the output of top producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Brent for April settlement jumped 72 cents to US$69.61 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude prices rose 25 cents to $66.04, while Brent, used to price global oils, was up 25 cents, at $69.90 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yet, the bank said its view was cyclical and sees Brent dropping down to US$60 a barrel by 2020.

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Okay so our big concern with the oil market right now is that these higher prices are not sustainable.

"There's no doubt shale players will respond to higher prices", says Jan Edelmann, commodity analyst at HSH Nordbank AG.

ExxonMobil will report on Friday but the company has announced it plans to invest heavily in the Permian Basin in West Texas and increase production by 600,000 of oil equivalent by 2025.

Yesterday still, the EIA released a report defending its numbers to investors.

J.P. Morgan last week said Brent will average $70 a barrel in 2018, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has projected a price of $64.

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  • Rita Burton