Crude Stocks Rise, Fuel Stocks Drop, Oil Prices Steady

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USA crude-oil production this year is expected to grow by 520,000 barrels a day from December 2017 to December 2018, while the average year-on-year growth is expected to reach 1.04 million barrels a day, mostly coming from shale, the report said.

Oil prices have firmed since oil cartel OPEC's November 2016 agreement to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), while non-OPEC members, led by Russian Federation, agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd.

Iran is pushing for prices at $60 a barrel, where Mr. Zanganeh says US oil production will remain under control and not flood the market.

There is a split between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the ideal oil price.

"Commercial crude stocks in the U.S. have been recovering and are at their highest level since December 2017".

"The risk is now much higher that President Trump will not waive the sanctions when it is time to do so in May, thus derailing the deal", said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB AB.

Despite this, oil markets remain relatively weak.

May Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was down 33 cents, or 0.5%, to $64.31 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

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Support came from a report that United States crude inventories are not rising as much as expected during the spring season now starting, implying healthy demand, and from strong China data.

Gasoline stocks fell by 6.3 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a poll for a 1.2 million-barrel drop.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries acknowledged the scale of the shale boom, forecasting for the first time that supply growth from rivals will outstrip the increase in demand this year. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 0.5% at $64.94 while West Texas Intermediate was up 0.8% at $61.23.

In a dose of support for oil bulls, the data showed crude production fell 1.9%.

Oil prices got a boost early in the session from a broader investor push into commodities after Chinese data showed industrial production in the world's largest importer of raw materials grew more than expected over the first two months of the year.

"The Opec report seems to illustrate that the speed of the market rebalancing is slowing", Commerzbank strategist Carsten Fritsch said.

U.S. production is expected to rise above 11 million bpd by late 2018, taking the top spot from Russian Federation, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).