Oil prices rise towards $70 fueling more subsidy fears

Iran wants OPEC to work to keep oil prices around $60 a barrel to contain US shale producers, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview, while Saudi Arabia has played down shale's ability to upset the market and has indicated $70 for oil is acceptable.

April WTI oil lost 68 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at USD61.36/bbl.

Brent crude futures slipped 54 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at $US64.95 per barrel.

The great thing about so many conflicting predictions within the analytical community about the crude market is that no matter what happens, a good portion of that community will be proven correct: and so on Monday those who anxious about the impact of rising USA shale output were vindicated by a 1.1 percent drop in West Texas Intermediate, the result of speculators cutting bullish bets on oil.

"The big take away is the implied annual rate of change", James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch.

Williams also pointed out that based on the figures, US shale plays this year will "add enough to USA production to match all the oil Venezuela now produces".

This week's Consumer Price Index (CPI) release, given its potential impact on the dollar, could be critical, said Bill Baruch, president of Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

Bourdais Wins Second Consecutive Firestone Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg
Rossi dove inside of Wickens in the first turn with two laps remaining, Wickens defended his position and the two cars touched. He was sidelined past year after a devastating qualifying crash at Indianapolis kept him from racing for most of 2017.

On Friday, Baker Hughes said the USA rig count dropped for the first time in seven weeks.

"From a fundamental standpoint, that is a material concern as the US oil industry alone could push the global market back into a surplus, which was the reason behind the 2014-2015 bear market in oil", he said in a daily newsletter.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said the U.S. may drastically reduce its import of crude oil from Nigeria by 2022, going by its projection of becoming a net energy exporter in four years. That split is driven by differing views over whether $70 a barrel sends USA shale companies into a production frenzy that could cause prices to crash.

"The strong shale oil revival is starting to get more attention", said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. At stake is OPEC's production limits, which are among factors helping the oil market's monthslong recovery.

According to Baker Hughes energy services firm, United States energy companies cut oil rigs for the first time in nearly two months, with drillers cutting back four rigs, to 796. It was the first such decline in seven weeks.

Still, the United States is now the world's no. 2 crude oil producer, ahead of top exporter Saudi Arabia.

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