OIL PRICES: ABOVE $55
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $55.49 per barrel at 0701 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.45 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 25 cents, or 0.46 percent, at $52.48 a barrel.
ANZ bank said that strong oil demand and "an unsettled global backdrop (is) leaving the market very finely balanced."
However, another increase in U.S. oil drilling - for the 12th straight week and taking the count to 672 rigs, which is the highest since August 2015 - kept markets from breaking last week's one-month highs of over $56 per barrel.
U.S. bank Goldman Sachs said after the rig data release that year-on-year U.S. oil production "would rise by 215,000 barrels per day in 2017" once a backlog of production waiting to be brought back online was taken into account.
The soaring U.S. output contrasts with a supply cut led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which hopes to prop up prices by reducing supplies in the first half of 2017 - and maybe beyond.
"The U.S. rig count continues to soar and we are close to a two-year high on that. Judging by the relative success of the OPEC agreement keeping prices propped up, I don't see a reason for that to decline in the near future," said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker at Freight Services International (FIS) in Dubai.
"Reduced OPEC volumes and stronger U.S. output will result in a deeper discount for U.S. crude and support greater exports from the U.S. to Asia over the coming months," BMI Research said. It added, though, that in terms of overall volumes, "the U.S. will remain a small player in Asia as OPEC actively protects its market share."
Beyond the United States, other producers are also benefiting from OPEC's supply cuts and tighter market.
Brazil's oil exports have soared 65 percent since February 2016, to a record of more than 1.46 million bpd, according to government data obtained by Reuters.
Consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates Brazil oil exports will hit an average of nearly 1 million bpd for the whole of 2017, up from 798,000 bpd last year.
|January, 22, 08:50:00|
|January, 22, 08:45:00|
|January, 22, 08:40:00|
|January, 22, 08:35:00|
|January, 22, 08:30:00|
|January, 22, 08:25:00|
WNA - Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly since 2000. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.
WNA - India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
WNA - Mainland China has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world's most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
PLATTS - "The domestic uranium mining industry needs US government assistance to survive the foreign onslaught -- particularly from Russia and Kazakhstan -- that has undermined the US uranium industry while new players -- particularly China -- will soon make the situation worse," Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy said in a petition they jointly filed with the department.