Oil prices dip on bloated US market, mixed Saudi signals

"The battle between the "sheiks and the shale oil producers" is far from decided. with all attempts by OPEC to achieve a lasting production deficit on the oil market being torpedoed by non-OPEC producers - first and foremost the US", analysts at Commerzbank wrote.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration early Wednesday reported that crude supplies fell by a more-than-expected 1 million barrels for the week ended April 14.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signalled that an effort by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russian Federation, to cut oil output was likely to be extended beyond June.

"Rising oil output in the USA remains the predominant bearish factor for prices despite growing anticipation that OPEC will extend a self-imposed cap on its oil production in the upcoming May meeting", Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy Global Gas Analytics said recently. US rig counts are up for 14 straight weeks returning output to levels not seen since April 2015. In order to stabilize oil markets, 10 out of 13 OPEC member states pledged in December 2016 to trim oil production for six months by 1.8 million barrels per day. Distillate stockpiles fell a bit more than expected-down 2 million barrels last week. "Refinery maintenance is finishing, which is leading to greater processing of crude, and the OPEC cuts are going to finally have an impact on US inventories". While the OPEC and other countries remain compliant with the deal, the production in the United States has increased by more than half a million barrels per day.

More news: Oil prices mixed after U.S. production seen rising

Fuel supplies are shrinking week after week at a time refineries are stepping up their crude processing ahead of the summer driving season. Stockpiles climbed to 535.5 million barrels at the end of March, the highest in weekly data compiled by Bloomberg since 1982. "The reasons are twofold".

The unexpected news sent WTI futures reeling; as of 17:50 GMT they were off by 1.5% to $54.08 a barrel on the ICE.

Oil-market news. Oil-exporting countries are moving closer toward ending a global glut and re-balancing the market, and OPEC will decide in May whether to extend production cuts, the group's Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said.

All oil producers taking part in a supply-cut pact are committed to bringing global inventories down to the industry's five year average and restoring stability to the market.

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