Crude oil prices unstable as markets anticipate increased OPEC output

That’s a 28 per cent gain in two years putting the US close to becoming the world’s biggest crude producer edging nearer to the 11 million bpd churned out by Russia

Crude oil prices unstable as markets anticipate increased OPEC output

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 0.3% to $75.62 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.

Iraq's Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said that prices still require support and stability, and producers "should not over-exaggerate" the oil market's need for more supplies.

Oil prices fell, reversing early gains as signs of weakening demand in China and surging USA output weighed on markets despite support from supply woes in Venezuela and OPEC´s production cuts.

Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish bets on U.S. crude futures in the week ended June 5, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said.

JP Morgan cut its 2018 crude forecast for WTI by $3 to $62.20 a barrel, traders said.

He said, "It's insane and astonishing to see instruction coming from Washington to Saudi to act and replace a shortfall of Iran's export due to their Illegal sanction on Iran and Venezuela", and he added that "No one in OPEC will act against two of its founder members; the USA tried it last time against Iran, but oil prices got to $140 a barrel".

The futures contracts dipped after the forecast was issued, and then pared losses.

The number of new rigs drilling for oil in the United States rose by one last week to 862, its highest since March 2015, data from energy services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.

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Brent traded at $76.97 while WTI eased to $66.39 per barrel, as U.S. crude oil production rose to a record 10.8 million barrels per day.

That suggests USA output, already at a record 10.8 million bpd, will climb further.

Saudi Arabia has told OPEC that it raised oil output to a little more than 10 million bpd in May, up from 9.9 million bpd in April.

Oil prices were mixed on Monday, caught between the downward pull of rising Russian production and US oil drilling activity at its highest since 2015, and upward pressure from strong demand, especially in Asia.

Despite Friday's decline, Brent remains more than 15 percent above its level at the start of the year.

PDVSA has notified customers in recent days that they must agree to load crude in Venezuela's open waters rather than its ports to avoid a possible declaration of force majeure that would temporarily interrupt some of its supply contracts.

OPEC and its partners are due to meet June 22-23 in Vienna.

On Friday, OPEC's third-largest producer Iran criticised a US request that Saudi Arabia pump more oil to cover a drop in Iranian exports and predicted that OPEC would not heed the appeal. "I don't think that we are likely to get there based on fundamentals".

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