Brent, WTI Prices Dip as US Rig Count Increases

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In the week ahead, oil traders will await fresh data on United States commercial crude inventories on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge the strength of demand in the world's largest oil consumer and how fast output levels will continue to rise.

USA crude oil and condensate exports to Europe are expected to hit an all-time high of around 550,000 bpd in April, according to shipping programs, and traders expect the record pace to continue this year as US oil is growing popular with European refiners, often at the expense of oil cargoes from OPEC nations and Russian Federation.

Reuters reported that OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers could begin easing up on output curbs before the end of the year, Russian Energy Minister Mr Alexander Novak said, sounding a bearish tone in contrast to Saudi Arabia's bullish stance.

Now, the world is looking to shale to supply most of the production growth but as it is widely being reported, shale bottlenecks are now hampering output and US refiners want more heavy oil and less shale.

Brent crude oil futures were at $73.26 per barrel at 1139 GMT, down 52 cents from their last close, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 48 cents at $67.81 a barrel.

There is also the possibility, the paper says, of the reimposition of sanctions on Iran, which might keep another 500,000 barrels a day off world markets. At the same time, OPEC's cuts have continued to erode a worldwide excess.

Morgan Stanley agrees. Morgan says that "our thesis is that the USA refining system is close to being maxed-out on the amount of shale oil it can process".

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Faleh's statement at a meeting of oil producers in Saudi Arabia came as crude hit the highest level in more than three years.

Oil has risen to its highest since late 2014 this month in part too because of nervousness over a decision President Donald Trump must take on whether to restore US economic sanctions on Iran.

Crude erased losses as escalating conflict in the Mideast region that's home to nearly half the world's oil canceled out an earlier rout in commodity markets.

The panel tasked OPEC's Secretariat to look into different metrics with deep analysis of market uncertainties. "No good and will not be accepted".

In our view, this potent mix of geopolitical risks has been the main driver behind the upward move in oil prices in the last two weeks. "It has increased now and currently all together we export 2.5 million barrels of oil and gas condensates", Zanganeh told state TV.

After reacting in fear, Flynn said the market recovered on conviction that US sanctions could dampen Iran's output, even if the nation produces above its OPEC quota. According to Reuters, key oil exporter Saudi Arabia would be happy to see oil prices continue to rise to $80, or even $100 per barrel, which could mean the supply cuts will remain in place to push oil prices further up over the coming months.

Brent and WTI prices have gained.

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