Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Venezuela crude output hits 28-year low: Opec

Neighbouring Oman backs prolonging the output limits beyond March and sees producers extending them until the end of 2018, Oil Minister Mohammed Hamad Al Rumhy told reporters.

OPEC also raised its oil demand forecast, saying the world would need 33.42 million barrels per day (bpd) of OPEC crude next year, up 360,000 bpd from its previous forecast and marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the outlook since July.

Oil prices held steady in a tight range Monday after briefly testing lower, with support from Middle East tensions and record long bets by fund managers balanced by rising United States production.

"The excess of OECD oil inventories over their five-year average levels has fallen by more than 50 percent in 2017, with inventories now at around 160 million barrels".

OPEC members were reportedly forming a consensus around extending by nine months their production cuts deal with other crude exporters.

Crude oil prices traded in a narrow range on Monday as investors weighed the prospect of supply disruption in the Middle East supporting a further rally in crude prices against expectations that USA producers will ramp up output. "We are not going to meet in that quarter unless it is extraordinary", Mazroui said at an energy industry conference.

Mazroui, whose country next year holds the rotating OPEC presidency, said that while the UAE backed an extension, he could not say yet whether it would support maintaining the supply cut until the end of 2018.

The Paris-based IEA cut its oil demand growth forecast by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) for this year and next, to an estimated 1.5 million bpd in 2017 and 1.3 million bpd in 2018.

Meanwhile, with $2.39 rise from its preceding week, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s basket price stood at $58.73 per barrel in the said week.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $56.62 a barrel, which presented a 0.25-percent decrease, down 14 cents.

Brent has gained 10 percent this year and was trading 70 cents lower at $62.46 a barrel in London at 3:21 p.m. local time.

Investors increasingly opted not to bet on higher oil prices, following a report from the International Energy Agency showing it expects rising U.S. shale oil and gas production to at least be among the biggest gains in the history of the industry.

Other regional concerns include the war in Yemen and growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a concern to investors too.

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