Oil Futures Tad Down; No Extension to OPEC Output Cap, for Now

During the OPEC meeting in Vienna on Friday, Alexander Novak, energy minister for Russian Federation, said no decision about the extension was expected before January, even though other ministers suggested it could happen before the end of this year. But Hurricane Harvey's strike on Texas last month was a game changer as flooding from the storm shut down a quarter of the US oil refining capacity of nearly 18 million bpd, sparking huge drawdowns in fuel inventories and prompting refiners to process as much crude as they could on their return.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the USA, was down 16 cents, or about 0.3%, to $56.26 a barrel.

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Opec, which counts Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela among its 14 members, agreed with Russian Federation and several other producers previous year to cut production by about 1.8m barrels a day from the start of 2017.

A market survey estimates that Cushing crude oil inventories rose on September 15-22, 2017.

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Iraq's goal to boost production capacity to 5 million barrels a day won't affect markets and not all new output will be exported, Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said in Baghdad.

The higher price of oil is also expected to translate into higher prices at petrol pumps, which could push inflation above 3%. "The more favourable supply-demand dynamic could see Brent crude reach $60 per barrel and two-year highs this year". Crude prices were on course for a rise of almost 16 per cent this quarter which would make this year's performance the strongest for the third quarter since 2004.

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Kachikwu noted that even though Nigeria hit 1.802 million barrels per day in the month of August that was not enough justification for a call by some countries for Nigeria to be brought into the fold. At Wednesday' session, Brent and WTI were up about 16% for the third quarter - on track to their largest quarterly gain since 2004. Earlier this year, Brent was in a "contango" situation, where nearby contracts traded at a discount to those farther out. "There's no room for them to do more", he said, referring to the five nations.

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