Oil price tops $60 for first time in more than two years

Oil Markets Tighten Brent Approaches $60 Per Barrel

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for December delivery rose 0.11% to $52.70 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, gained was quoted down 0.08% to $59.42 a barrel.

Crude oil prices are trading flat early Thursday.

Iraq, Bloomberg's data showed, shipped 18.8 million barrels to the U.S.in September, while Saudi exports to this destination came in 2.9 million bpd lower.

US oil exports hit all-time high this week and, after a brief respite, look set to rise to their highest on record into north west Europe, as the discount of USA crude to Brent sits at two-year highs, casting a shadow over the North Sea market.

Brent crude futures settled up 11 cents at $US58.44 ($F120) a barrel.

Indeed, if Venezuela misses its payment deadline, it risks losing control of one of its most valuable assets, Citgo (its US -based refining operation), to Russian Federation.

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"However, the market is also mindful of rising oil production in the United States and persistently high exports from the country, which will cap price gains", Mr Kumar noted.

Even as global inventory levels are falling, Brent has remained below $US60 ($F120) a barrel, partly on concern the crude glut may grow again after March 2018, when the output reduction deal is due to end.

OPEC members will hold an official meeting in Vienna on November 30. At that time, the OPEC-led group may announce an extension of the production cuts beyond the March deadline.

Traders were apparently not swayed by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showing on Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories rose by 856,000 barrels last week compared to an expected 2.6 million barrel draw; U.S. crude production also rose 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) last week to 9.5 million bpd after a decline due to Hurricane Nate, while U.S. oil exports hit a new record four-week average of 1.7 million bpd. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority would prepare the summary of oil products on October 30 which would be sent to Ministry of Petroleum and Ministry of Finance. "If it goes too high, it is an indication to USA shale producers to produce more oil", a development that could undermine the oil market rebalancing under way, he said.

Crude oil prices standing more or less still in early Thursday trading, with signs pointing to a make-or-break price point for US oil production.

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