US Crude Oil Exports Could Be at a Tipping Point

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Meanwhile, weekly figures showed total USA crude oil production at 9.55 million barrels a day, just short of the September 29 high going back to July 10, 2015.

Brent crude LCOc1 settled up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $60.62 per barrel.

Confidence has been fueled by an effort this year lead by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russian Federation to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in oil production to tighten markets.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said supply and demand balances were tightening and oil inventories falling, while compliance with the OPEC-led pact to curb supplies had been "excellent". Oil prices have been rallying on expectations that the producers will extend the deal, which is set to expire in March, through the end of 2018.

"As OPEC considers a full extension of its production cut deal, US crude will likely make inroads into traditional OPEC markets that will be hard to reverse", Emirates NBD Bank said in a note.

Iraq's oil minister said that OPEC's second-largest producer supports keeping curbs on global oil supply to bolster prices, adding $60 per barrel would be an acceptable target price for his country.

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During the week ending on 27 October, commercial crude oil inventories shrank by 2.4m barrels from the previous week to reach 454.9m barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration, the US Department of Energy's statistical arm.

Overall, oil markets have been slightly under-supplied this year, resulting in inventory drawdowns.

An Energy Information Administration report Wednesday is forecast to show US crude inventories fell by 1.3 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Goldman Sachs said it expected year-on-year USA oil production growth of 0.8-million to 0.9-million bpd at year-end 2017. USA exports hit a record level of more than 2 million barrels a day in the week ended October 27, according to EIA data. Crude stockpiles dropped by 5.09 million barrels, while gasoline supplies fell by 7.7 million last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report.

For U.S. East Coast refineries, the Brent-WTI spread can partially determine when switching to domestic crude oil would be more profitable. The trade has been fueled by a boom in USA oil output from shale fields, where producers use advanced drilling methods to coax fossil fuels from rock formations.