Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Oil costs rise on North Sea pipeline outage, however…

Oil costs rise on North Sea pipeline outage, however…

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.37 a barrel at 1137 GMT, up 33 cents, or 0.58 percent, from their last settlement.

With OPEC-led supply cuts supporting prices, but rising US production capping crude, many analysts see markets balanced in 2018 and 2019, with Brent in a $50-$60 range.

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While the pipeline outage physically mostly affects the North Sea region, it is of global relevance as the crude it supplies is part of the supply that underpins the Brent price benchmark.

The country's light oil price was reported $51.73 on average since the beginning of 2017 until December 8.

Goldman Sachs said that market conditions allowed the major oil companies, which it referred as Big Oil, to enter "a positive earnings-revision cycle" and that "this should allow Big Oil to re-employ capital at double-digit returns".

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The IEA believes non-OPEC production next year will swell by 1.6 million barrel per day (bpd), most of it coming from US shale, while OPEC pegs the growth at 1 million bpd; also, although both organizations project that demand for OPEC crude will be about 32.3 million bpd in the first half of 2018, OPEC thinks it will need to pump about 34 million bpd in the second half, while the IEA sees a requirement of just 32.7 million per day.

The International Energy Agency said 2018 "might not be quite so happy for OPEC producers" as US output increases, but the agency expects a balanced market next year, with a supply deficit in the second half.

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