Crude oil futures were stable to slightly higher in mid-morning trade in Asia Wednesday amid mixed global supply-side indicators. At 10:30 am Singapore time (0230 GMT), ICE May Brent crude futures were up 12 cents/b (0.18%) from Tuesday’s settle at $68.09/b, while the NYMEX May light sweet crude contract was 9 cents/b (0.15%) higher at $60.03/b.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted in media reports Tuesday as saying his country was on track to meet its 228,000 b/d production cut target by end-March. “Crude oil prices surged after Russia claimed to be on track in meeting its pledged output cut,” ANZ analysts said in a note Wednesday.
The OPEC/non-OPEC coalition plans to hold its next market monitoring committee meeting on May 19 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sources told S&P Global Platts on Tuesday. The next full meeting of the 24-country coalition is set for June 25-26 in Vienna, less than a week before the 1.2 million b/d supply cut agreement is scheduled to expire. Market participants were also closely watching for developments on the sanctions front after the US hinted at tougher sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, and with ongoing sanction waivers on Iran set to expire on May 5.
“Reports that the US administration is divided over whether to extend waivers on US sanctions on Iranian oil also worried the market,” the ANZ analysts said. Closely-watched weekly US inventory data is due for release by the US Energy Information Administration later Wednesday.
Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts expected US crude stocks to have fallen by 2.2 million barrels in the week to March 29, while analysts quoting American Petroleum Institute data released Tuesday said it indicated stocks rose 1.93 million barrels in the week. “That said, US inventory data may have been distorted by the three-day closure of the Houston Ship Channel after it was contaminated by toxic substances following a chemical accident,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.