OPEC Chief Sees Higher Compliance With Oil Production Cutting Deal

Crude oil prices were boosted substantially early Tuesday by OPEC comments that a stable price point for oil has yet to be reached. With oil prices trading roughly $20 above that, American oil production was booming. Some 45% saw Brent crude within a $50 to $59/barrel range while 33% were more optimistic seeing it between $60 and $69. "What we are seeing is the efforts they are making in achieving their targets". "The market's been looking for that, if not demanding that, at this point". For instance, Russian Federation reduced its January output by a commendable 100,000 bpd, but its production cut is massively below the 300,000 bpd that it agreed to cut.

According to IEA, Egypt was producing 690,000 barrels per day on average in 2016.

For 2017, the Russian energy ministry forecasts oil production at the level of 548-551 million tons, or 11.01-11.07 million bpd.

Algeria lost the top producer spot to Nigeria in December 2016. Robert Taylor, an analyst at Saxon Trade observes that "the market can't seem to build up enough momentum for a rally, investors are mostly bidding their time as they watch for convincing signs that oil deserves to climb higher". Traders remain concerned as to whether the US increase in drilling rigs would undermine OPEC's commitment to cut production, which is now standing at a 90 percent compliance rate.

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The NEB economist expects oil import volumes to remain relatively consistent over the next several years, unless oil producers in Western Canada send more of their crude eastward on rail cars. At the same time, America is neck-and-neck with China as the world's largest crude importer, buying 7.88 million bpd of crude past year.

The higher price floor has encouraged the view that we see an Elliott-Wave pattern known as a triangle, which is a mid-trend correction pattern.

Two other opposing forces now seen are gasoline margins and Brent prompt structure. WTI-Brent spread was stable on Feb-2017.

OPEC sources last week said extending or deepening the cut was a possibility if stocks do not fall.

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Hedge funds are now holding a gross-long of more than 1 billion barrels.

OPEC felt that there was oversupply in the market, which prompted it to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day. This news supported US data which showed net long USA crude oil futures and options positions in the week to February 14 were at a record. Given the current outlook for rising demand the market will eventually balance and the price move higher.

Gas spending is also set to increase as countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE study higher-cost sour gas and shale gas plans to meet rapidly-growing domestic demand.

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