Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Iraq's Crude Oil Production Is near a 9-Month Low

"Any significant increase clearly offsets cutbacks by other OPEC and non-OPEC countries", it said.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude June contract ticked up 27 cents, or around 0.6%, to $49.12 a barrel by 8:55AM ET (12:55GMT).

Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, the world's top two oil producers, agreed on Monday on the need to extend output cuts for nine months until March 2018 to erode a glut.

Initially, it had been planned that the deal to cut nearly 1.8 million barrels per day in production and agreed on December 10, will be effective in the first half of this year with possibility of rollover toll the end of 2017.

"The ministry stressed that the agreement on oil output cuts had a positive impact on oil prices, adding that additional steps to ensure market stability in the long term were still needed as global commercial oil reserves were above their five-year average".

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But the rebound has emboldened producers beyond the two dozen nations that have curtailed output, particularly US shale drillers that rely on expensive production methods to unlock oil and gas from rock formations.

The market response to OPEC's promise to extend the cut has been subdued because oil cartel members chose to cut production but continued to export crude taken from their own stockpiles.

Saudi Arabia accounts for about 70% of OPEC's crude stocks and the kingdom has reduced its inventory considerably.

But oil at above Dollars 50 a barrel has, in turn, attracted higher-cost producers in the United States back to the market, and frantic American drilling will push non-OPEC supply throughout the year, the IEA predicted.

But for the first quarter as a whole, stocks in industrialised countries rose by 24.1 million barrels and the IEA said preliminary data suggested inventories increased again in April.

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"If, as a scenario and not a forecast, the current (OPEC) output cuts were to be extended for the rest of 2017, oil stocks would start to fall quite sharply... but because they are falling from such a great height, they won't get down to the five-year average until much later in the year and possibly not then", Atkinson said.

"Growth was weaker than expected in the first quarter of 2017, however, with notable downward revisions seen in the United States (where demand is essentially flat), Germany, Turkey and India (where the effect of the currency reform lingers on)", said the IEA. The market had grown skeptical, as inventories have been drawing down slowly.

Gasoline futures recently gained 0.5% to $1.6039 a gallon and diesel futures gained 0.8% to $1.5219 a gallon.

-Summer Said and Jenny W. Hsu contributed to this article.

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