Crude oil prices are slightly lower today, after strengthening yesterday. Turning to the latest news, International Energy Agency director Executive Director Fatih Birol claimed that the US is destined to become the world's largest oil producer. “U.S. shale growth is very strong, the pace is very strong ... The United States will become the No.1 oil producer sometime very soon,” he said according to a Reuters story. The latest US production figures indicate that the US is now the world's second largest crude oil producer - ahead of Saudi Arabia and slightly below Russia. Nonetheless, falling US stockpiles and supply disruptions in Libya have supported crude prices lately. As we wrote last week, issues with the Keystone pipeline are limiting Canadian exports to the United States, and have resulted in falling stockpiles accordingly. US EIA data is scheduled to be released tomorrow. Our short-term outlook is neutral, while our medium-term outlook on crude remains bullish.
WTI is currently trading above $63.60. Brent crude is currently above $67.20.
Looking at US crude oil stocks, the most recent EIA figures (February 22) showed falling crude oil stocks and rising gasoline inventories. Crude oil inventories were much lower than estimates (-1.6m vs. +2.5m expected). Gasoline stocks were up (+0.3m vs. -0.5m expected) while distillate stocks (-2.4m vs. -1.5m expected) were down. Looking at reactions in markets, crude oil prices were up following the EIA report.