OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $64
REUTERS - Crude oil futures rose on Friday as Asian stock markets gained on news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The two will likely meet by May and Kim has pledged to refrain from further nuclear or missile tests, South Korea's national security chief said late on Thursday after briefing White House officials on talks between Seoul and Pyongyang.
The White House said Trump would accept the invitation at a place and time to be determined.
The news lifted Asian stocks markets, and pulled crude oil futures along with them, traders said.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $63.79 per barrel at 0753 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their previous close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $60.24 a barrel, up 12 cents, or 0.2 percent.
Despite these increases, Brent and WTI are on course for weekly declines of almost 1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Traders said the weakness is due to soaring output from the United States C-OUT-T-EIA, which has risen by 23 percent since the middle of 2016, to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd).
"The market continues to struggle to shake off an excess supply... (boosted) by increased supply from a growing U.S. shale patch," ANZ Bank said on Friday.
Thanks largely to shale drilling, the United States now produces more crude than top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia pumps more, at almost 11 million bpd.
"It seems only a matter of time before the U.S. becomes the biggest oil producer in the world. The main question which keeps investors busy is when exactly this will be reached," Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at Dutch bank ABN Amro, said in a note to investors.
Unlike Middle East producers, where output is largely dictated by state-owned oil companies, U.S. producers drill and sell purely based on economics. If prices remain at current levels or rise further, U.S. drillers are profitable and will raise output; if prices stumble, U.S. production will fall.
"The correlation between the U.S. oil production and the oil prices will remain considerable," van Cleef said.
As much as production, oil prices will also depend on demand.
Here, there are signs of a slowdown, although much of this could be seasonal as the Northern Hemisphere winter ends.
Iran's crude and condensate exports are set to fall by 21 percent in March, compared with the previous month, to 1.94 million bpd, according to a source with knowledge of the tanker schedules. That is the lowest since March 2016.
Compared to a year ago, March liftings from Iran will be down 26 percent.
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U.S. EIA - Energy companies’ free cash flow—the difference between cash from operations and capital expenditure—was $119 billion for the four quarters ending June 30, 2018, the largest four-quarter sum during 2013–18 Companies reduced debt for seven consecutive quarters, contributing to the lowest long-term debt-to-equity ratio since third-quarter 2014
OPEC - Total oil demand for 2018 is now estimated at 98.82 mb/d. In 2019, world oil demand growth is forecast to rise by 1.41 mb/d. Total world oil demand in 2019 is now projected to surpass 100 mb/d for the first time and reach 100.23 mb/d.
ARAB NEWS - Oil exports from southern Iraq are heading for a record high this month, two industry sources said, adding to signs that OPEC’s second-largest producer is following through on a deal to raise supply and local unrest is not affecting shipments.
PLATTS - The International Energy Agency expects the US to account for 75% of the global growth in natural gas exports over the next five years, a bullish outlook for LNG developers facing challenges at home getting projects off the ground and abroad with tariffs affecting trade flows.