Published: Thu, April 04, 2019
Money | By Arnold Ball

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs increase last week

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs increase last week

The price of oil rose above 69 dollars per barrel on Tuesday, on the prospect that more sanctions against Iran and further Venezuelan disruptions could deepen an OPEC-led supply cut, and as the market became less anxious that demand may reduce.

Oil production from Russian Federation, which has joined OPEC in agreeing to supply cuts to prop up prices, fell to 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, but missed the country's target under the deal.

Still, analysts have turned cautiously optimistic on crude oil prices this year, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Brent futures rose 22 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $69.59 a barrel by 0028 GMT, after earlier reaching $69.68, the highest since November 13.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 43 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $60.57 barrel, after posting a rise of 32 percent in the January-March period.

The price of oil was boosted amid news of supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting (OPEC) countries sinking to a four-year low in March, according to a Reuters survey.

Nigeria 2019 budget is based on oil price of $66 per barrel with an estimated production of 2.2 million barrels per day.

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However, future gains will be limited by potential softness in the global economy as well as the ability of US oil producers to ramp up production when prices spike, said Phin Ziebell, senior economist at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

But despite also being under USA sanctions, Venezuela's state-run energy company, PDVSA, kept oil exports near 1 million bpd in March, PDVSA documents and Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The EIA also reported an increase in gasoline production, averaging 9.8 million barrels per day. "That being said, we continue to expect little flow from CTAs as momentum remains embedded to the downside, despite the whopping recovery in Q1".

"Crude imports rose and crude exports fell, which translates into considerably higher net imports".

"On the demand side, easing economic slowdown fears are also offering support", she said.

In a sign that supply may tighten further, a USA official said on Tuesday that three of eight countries granted waivers by Washington to import oil from Iran had cut such purchases to zero, adding that improved oil market conditions would help reduce Iranian crude exports further.

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