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A measure of oil volatility last month averaged the lowest in more than two years and futures in New York have been stuck between $50 and $55 a barrel since OPEC and other producing nations agreed Dec. 10 to reduce output. Price estimates compiled by Bloomberg show crude will average $52 during the first quarter this year, rising to $58 in the last three months of 2017.
Therefore, OPEC has raised its supply to Asia, and Russia has also re-routed a great chunk of its rising production toward China and the Asia-Pacific over the past decade. Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as China's biggest supplier last year, exporting 1.05 million bpd of crude versus Saudi Arabia's 1.02 million.
Brent crude LCOc1 was up 25 cents at $55.83 a barrel at 0954 GMT, having traded in a narrow 53-cent range so far in the session. U.S. crude CLc1 rose 26 cents to $53.07.
Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 20 cents a barrel at $55.03 by 0900 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was down 30 cents a barrel at $52.33.
London Brent crude for March delivery had dropped 28 cents to $55.24 a barrel by 0657 GMT, after settling down 72 cents on Friday. NYMEX crude for March delivery was down 23 cents at $52.90 a barrel.
Igor Yusufov, Russia’s energy minister from 2001 to 2004, said U.S. shale producers wouldn’t attempt to enter core OPEC and Russia markets where prices are too low for them to compete. “The fact is that shale oil and gas are doing well in markets that start from a certain price,” he said in an email exchange with The Wall Street Journal.
Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $55.59 per barrel at 0313 GMT, up 51 cents, or 0.93 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $53.22 a barrel, up 47 cents, or 0.89 percent.
The World Bank is holding steady its crude oil price forecast for the year at $55 per barrel, a 29 percent jump from 2016. The energy price forecast assumes members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers will partially comply with an agreement to limit production after a long period of unrestrained output.
Brent crude oil spot prices are expected to remain fairly flat during 2017, in part as a result of the responsiveness of U.S. tight oil production to rising oil prices in late 2016, and they are expected to average $53/b for the year.
PetroChina, China's biggest listed oil company by assets, expected the supply and demand for global oil market would gradually become balanced in 2017 and international oil prices would "recover," the company said late Wednesday in a profits warning for the 2016 annual result.