Oil mixed as OPEC cites uncertain market outlook for 2018

WTI Crude Oil

"Early in the session, prices fell in response to a bearish report from JPMorgan on Friday that said, 'Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise sharply in 2019, led by USA shale growth, along with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan".

The oil markets were mixed on Monday, with USA crude firmer while Brent inched down, as comments from the Iraqi oil minister cast doubt as to whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would decide to boost output at its upcoming meeting.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, together with partners including Russian Federation, has cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since January 2017 in an effort to boost the market.

US President Donald Trump has personally called on Saudi Arabia to increase output to curb rising prices and help boost the economy.

Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was down 65 cents at $75,81 a barrel by 1330 GMT. This suggests USA crude output, already at a record 10.8 million bpd, will climb further.

The oil price has risen steadily over the past year, with Brent crude establishing itself above $70 for the first time in years last month - some 30 percent higher than at the same time in 2017.

The minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, said that oil prices still require support and stability, and producers "should not over-exaggerate" the oil markets need for more supplies. OPEC kept its global demand expectations steady.

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Russian news agency Interfax said on Saturday that Russia's oil output had risen to 11.1 million bpd in early June, up from slightly less than 11 million bpd for most of May and above its target output of under 11 million bpd.

"Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise sharply in 2019, led by U.S. shale growth, along with Russia, Brazil, Canada and Kazakhstan", U.S. bank JPMorgan said. It sees 2018 growth at 1.65 million bpd.

Based on the EIA definition, Robert McNally at consultancy Rapidan Energy Group said Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates together had spare capacity of about 2.3 million bpd. But OPEC, Russia and others have said any increase in output would be made gradually.

Various sources show that "considerable uncertainty as to world oil demand and non-OPEC supply prevails", OPEC said, leading to a wide range of estimates for the remainder of 2018.

Overall OPEC production rose by 35,000 bpd to 31.87 million bpd as production fell in Nigeria, Venezuela and Libya, offsetting Saudi Arabia's gains.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in January publicly floated the idea to extend the cooperation agreement which was struck by 24 OPEC and non-OPEC producers in late 2016 to trim output to shore up prices.

The kingdom did this during wars in the Gulf and Iraq, but the surge in output was only sustained for a few months.

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