Oil closes above $68 a barrel, highest price since 2014

Sergiy Serdyuk  Adobe Stock
Sergiy Serdyuk Adobe Stock

19 April, 2018

Traders were also looking ahead to the outcome of the joint Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee meeting expected to be held later this week. That was the highest finish for a front-month contract since December 1, 2014, according to FactSet data.

At 1222 GMT, June WTI crude oil is trading $67.75, up $1.24 or +1.86% and June Brent crude oil is at $72.75, up $1.17 or +1.63%. In its latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said that US shale production is expected to increase by 125,000 bpd in May over April, with the Permian production surging by 73,000 bpd, Eagle Ford's-by 24,000 bpd, and the Bakken's by 15,000 bpd.

"Oil inventories have built by just three million barrels so far this year, compared to over 50 million barrels a year ago", he said.

Distillate stockpiles decreased 3.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 268,000-barrel draw, the EIA data showed, putting overall inventories of these products, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, at levels not seen seasonally since 2014.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI fell by 1.1 million barrels, EIA said. The S&P Global Platts survey forecast supply declines of 1.9 million barrels for gasoline and 1.6 million for distillates.

"Gasoline demand was very strong, virtually summer-like".

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The EIA reported that gasoline demand hit a record of 9.857 million barrels a day last week, up 584,000 barrels. To compare, a week earlier, refineries churned out 10.2 million bpd of gasoline and 5.3 million bpd of distillate.

May natural gas ended little changed at $2.739 per million British thermal units.

The latest demonstration was oil prices' reaction to the Western strikes in Syria, which failed to result in any sustainable price increase after the initial jump.

Higher oil prices were good news for the TSX, which gained 176 points to close at 15,529.

Elsewhere, the reported arrest of two Chevron Corp.

"Production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] and 10 non-OPEC oil producers including Russian Federation, now in the second year of a two-year term, have combined with robust oil demand to drain a wide overhang in commercial oil supply held by advanced economies", said Phil Flynn, an analyst with the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

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