U.S. OIL PRODUCTION DOWN 5.4%
US crude oil production in March averaged 9.127 million b/d, down from 9.133 million b/d in February and 9.648 million b/d in March 2015, according to the most recent data from the US Energy Information Administration.
The overall US crude output decline was led by a more than 10% drop year-over-year in Texas. Production in the state during March totaled 3.276 million b/d, decreasing from 3.316 million b/d in February and 3.644 million b/d in March 2015.
North Dakota output during the month was 1.109 million b/d, down from 1.116 million b/d in February and 1.189 in March 2015.
Onshore production declines were partially offset by a 16% year-over-year jump in production from federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where March output averaged 1.641 million b/d, rising from 1.577 million b/d in February and 1.414 million b/d in March 2015.
US natural gas production in March was 91.06 bcf, down from 92.011 bcf in February but still up from 90.768 bcf in March 2015. Texas's gas output was 22.605 bcf, falling from 22.931 bcf in February and 24.087 bcf in March 2015.
Pennsylvania's gas output totaled 14.67 bcf, down from 14.945 bcf in February but still up 11.2% year-over-year from 13.191 bcf. Gas production from the Gulf of Mexico totaled 3.562 bcf, up from 3.496 bcf in February and 3.203 bcf in March 2015.
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BP and its partners in Azerbaijan's giant ACG oil production complex agreed Thursday to extend the production sharing contract by 25 years to 2049 and to increase the stake of state-owned SOCAR, reducing the size of their own shares.
The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $123.1 billion (preliminary) in the second quarter of 2017 from $113.5 billion (revised) in the first quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit increased to 2.6 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.4 percent in the first quarter.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were trading up 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $50.30 by 0852 GMT, near the three-month high of $50.50 it reached last Thursday. Brent crude futures LCOc1, the benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at $55.91 a barrel, up 29 cents, and also not far from the near five-month high of $55.99 touched on Thursday.
“The principal risk regarding Russian and Chinese activities in Venezuela in the near term is that they will exploit the unfolding crisis, including the effect of US sanctions, to deepen their control over Venezuela’s resources, and their [financial] leverage over the country as an anti-US political and military partner,” observed R. Evan Ellis, a senior associate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program.