Oil prices rise in expectation of Aramco supply cut to Asia

Oil prices rise on expectation of output cut extension

Oil rises as OPEC cuts outweigh US drilling boom

OPEC and other oil producers taking part in output cuts have reached a consensus to extend the limits until the end of the year, oil ministers for two of the group's members said.

USA energy companies last week extended a recovery in oil drilling into a 12th month, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, and Brent was firmly back over $50 per barrel, as a fall in USA crude inventories and a more severe than expected cut in Saudi supplies to Asia tightened the market. Aramco had previously maintained supplies to important Asian customers.

Brent crude was up 57 cents, hovering at $50.79 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate jumped 61 cents to $47.94.

Oil prices had some spring in their step midday Wednesday after USA government data confirmed a larger-than-expected fall in US crude inventories as refineries cut output.

The news agency reported that state-owned Saudi Aramco will reduce oil supplies to its Asian customers by almost seven million barrels next month as it is likely to witness a surge in domestic power demand over summer.

The price of Brent crude fell 10% to as low as $46.64 a barrel last week, its lowest level since November as traders became impatient with OPEC's attempts to force a return to higher oil prices.

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Brent was 60 cents higher at $50.82 a barrel by 1255 GMT after hitting an early high of $51.09.

Russian Federation said yesterday it was discussing prolonging cuts with other producers beyond 2017, without giving a clear timeline.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday the OPEC-led production cut could be extended beyond 2017.

Oil prices pared gains on Thursday after the report was released to trade below $51 a barrel, below the $60 level that top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia would like to see. Atkinson said such a move will see the supply deficit become even bigger in the second half of the year.

"However, continued rebalancing in the oil market by year-end will require the collective efforts of all oil producers to increase market stability, not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy", analysts at the Vienna based headquarters said.

"I am still watching the USA summer gasoline demand", said Kho, the president of Vitol Asia Pte.

OPEC is curbing its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 1 for six months, the first reduction in eight years, to clear excess supply.

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