Saudi signals first cut in crude supplies to Asian customer-refinery source

Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said in a semi-regular newsletter emailed to UPI that crude oil storage level declines came as USA production trends were moderating.

After falling to their lowest levels since OPEC agreed to cut production back in November a year ago, Goldman Sachs have warned oil prices are nearing "capitulation".

Now, OPEC and its allies are looking forward to prolong their agreement, which includes three largest producers Russia, Iraq and Iran, into the second half of the year.

Oil prices slipped to the pre-OPEC output cut level in early May on worries over brimming US supplies. The twelve member states will be joined by Russian Federation, but USA production remains a concern.

The drop was evidence to some that demand is robust in the U.S. Others took it as proof that the move by OPEC and other big oil produces to cut global crude supply is working.

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Brent futures LCOc1 were up 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $48.92 a barrel at 0612 GMT.

Saudi Aramco will curb oil supplies to Asia by about 7 million barrels in June, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Even though OPEC has stuck to its pledge to cut production, USA output C-OUT-T-EIA has risen by more than 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.3 million barrels per day, close to the output of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, investors were also demonstrating a lack of confidence in OPEC's ability to rebalance the market through planned production cuts.

The price for Brent crude oil moved back over the $50 mark in Wednesday trading after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration confirmed industry expectations of a sizeable draw on oil inventories in the United States, the world's leading economy.

USA oil production has gained more than 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.3 million bpd, close to levels of top producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

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USA crude imports fell last week by 799,000 bbl/d, the biggest weekly drop since mid-February, to just 6.9 million bbl/d, the first time they have been below 7 million bbl/d since early March. Atkinson said such a move will see the supply deficit become even bigger in the second half of the year.

Gasoline demand rose by 252,000 barrels a day, bringing the four-week average closer to levels at this time past year after a string of data showing weekly consumption declines.

Iraq and Algeria said Thursday, May 11, 2017, that they support the extension of oil production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers through the end of the year to try to boost prices.

Further, the EIA upgraded its crude oil estimate to an average of 9.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 and 10 million bpd in 2018.

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