OIL PRICES: ABOVE $50 AGAIN
REUTERS, BLOOMBERG - Oil prices rose on Thursday, with benchmark Brent crude trading comfortably above $50 a barrel after a fall in U.S. inventories and a bigger-than-expected cut in Saudi supplies to Asia helped tightened the market.
But a downbeat report from OPEC tempered early gains as the producer group said higher-than-expected production from its competitors would reduce demand for its crude this year.
Brent LCOc1 was 60 cents higher at $50.82 a barrel by 1255 GMT (8.55 a.m. ET) after hitting an early high of $51.09. U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was last up 60 cents at $47.93.
"We saw the biggest draw in (U.S.) inventories for the year last week with stockpiles down more than 5 million barrels, and it looks like OPEC's production cut is finally biting," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at brokerage AxiTrader.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia have agreed to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of the year to try to reduce a global fuel glut.
OPEC meets on May 25 to decide on production policy for the second half of 2017, and most analysts expect the group to extend cuts until at least the end of the year.
OPEC has reduced output as promised, but there have been few signs so far that supply has fallen significantly as producers have shielded many key customers, especially in Asia, from cuts.
However, after Brent fell below $50 a barrel last week, analysts said producers felt forced to act.
Saudi Arabia told Asian refiners of its first cuts in crude allocations since OPEC's output reduction took effect in January. Saudi Aramco will reduce supplies to Asian customers by about 7 million barrels in June.
U.S. crude stockpiles posted their biggest weekly drawdown since December last week as imports dropped sharply, while inventories of refined products also fell.
While U.S. oil inventories fell, the country's oil production C-OUT-T-EIA continued to rise, jumping above 9.3 million bpd last week, in what is now a more than 10 percent increase since its mid-2016 trough.
OPEC said in a report on Thursday that higher production in the United States and elsewhere would eat into its market share. It raised its estimate of total oil supply growth from non-OPEC producers this year to 950,000 bpd from a previous forecast of 580,000 bpd.
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NOVATEK - According to the MOU, the parties agreed to explore opportunities for KOGAS to enter the Arctic LNG 2 project and possible LNG off-take from the project, participate in the LNG transshipment project in Kamchatka and other infrastructure projects, as well as develop cooperation in LNG trading and logistics optimization, including swap operations.
BAKER HUGHES A GE - U.S. Rig Count is down 7 rigs from last week to 1,052, with oil rigs down 1 to 862, gas rigs down 6 to 188 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2. Canada Rig Count is up 21 rigs from last week to 160, with oil rigs up 16 to 103 and gas rigs up 5 to 57.
REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up $1.05 a barrel at $74.10 by 0925 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 80 cents higher at $66.34.
МИНЭНЕРГО РОССИИ - По итогам заседания расширенного мониторингового комитета большинством его участников было рекомендовано рассмотреть на предстоящей министерской встрече ОПЕК и последующей за ней министерской встрече с участием не входящих в ОПЕК стран-экспортеров нефти увеличение добычи на 1 млн барр в сутки (от текущего уровня) с распределением этого объема между участниками соглашения.