Saudi Energy Minister Praises OPEC Oil Price Boost

Increasing U.S. output is proving a constant source of irritation to attempts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major oil producers to curb output and sustain a rally in prices in a market that has been oversupplied since mid-2014.

Crude output at major United States shale plays is forecast to climb to 5.2 million barrels a day in May, the highest since November 2015, according to the EIA's monthly Drilling Productivity report.

He said "conformity" within OPEC and other producers was improving and that the UAE was complying 100 percent with its pledge to cut production. One factor helping boost stocks has been United States crude production, which has climbed by 482,000 b/d this year.

Brent crude futures were at $53.34 per barrel at 0715 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.77 per cent, from their last close.

Crude inventories fell by 1 million barrels in the week to April 14, compared with analysts' expectations for an decrease of 1.5 million barrels.

Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude stocks fell 1 million barrels on the week, a bit less than anticipated.

Iran pumped just shy of its 3.8 million barrels a day allowed under the deal in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency. US WTI crude futures rose 1 cent to $52.66 a barrel.

House Oversight head Chaffetz to leave Congress after 2018
Chaffetz's district, a large swath of Utah southeast of Salt Lake City including Provo, voted 78 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012. In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Chaffetz reiterated that he wants to spend more time with his family.

While there is a risk of further "verbal intervention" from OPEC officials - something that has time and time again boosted energy stock and oil prices since a production freeze agreement was first teased in February 2016 - the sector looks vulnerable for further losses.

As the refining activity is constantly rallying, the USA gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels.

US crude imports rose last week by 56,000 barrels per day.

US supplies of crude are still near records and more than 100 million barrels higher than the five-year average for this time of the year, data compiled from the EIA show.

Both benchmarks closed out the Easter holiday eve higher for a third consecutive week, with Brent adding 1.2 percent over the four days and WTI up 1.8 percent.

TheNewsGuru.com reports that on December 10, 2016, OPEC won the backing of countries outside the oil cartel to join supply cuts for the first time since 2001, overcoming the final major obstacle for a global agreement to curb output.

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