Recap: A lack of new fundamentals, combined with light volume ahead of the New Year, left oil prices little changed. January WTI traded within a $1 range on what was its last trading day. This spot contract traded as much as 1.1% higher on the day, posting modest gains on reports of the killing of a Russian ambassador in Turkey.
Gains were severed, with January WTI closing at $52.12 a barrel, up 22 cents, or 0.42%. Brent for February delivery fell 29 cents, or 0.53%, to settle at $54.92 a barrel.
January RBOB gained .68 cent, or 0.4%, to close at $1.5639 a gallon. January heating oil rose .33 cent, or 0.2%, to $1.6690 a gallon.
Fundamental News: Genscape reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma in the week ending December 16th increased by 315,283 barrels on the week but fell by 245,127 barrels from Tuesday, December 13th to 68,744,078 barrels.
Official data showed that Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports in October fell to 7.636 million bpd from 7.812 million bpd in September. According to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative, Saudi Arabia's oil output in October fell by 25,000 bpd on the month to 10.625 million bpd. The country's crude oil stocks fell by 2.102 million barrels to 276.586 million barrels. Saudi Arabia's direct crude burn increased by 2,000 bpd to 492,000 bpd. Its oil product exports increased by 94,000 bpd to 1.443 million bpd in October while its demand for oil products fell by 30,000 bpd to 2.488 million bpd in October.
Libyan oil facility guards prevented two of the country's largest fields from resuming operations, days after the National Oil Corp reached an agreement to restart operations there to increase output. An NOC official said that the El Feel or Elephant and Sharara fields still are not operational after they were shut more than a year and a half ago. Separately, an oil tanker docked at Libya's Es Sider port to load the first cargo of crude since the terminal reopened following a two year closure. The tanker is due to start loading 600,000 barrels of crude on Tuesday.
Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, is set to travel to oil producing countries soon.
Lukoil sees Russian oil companies agreeing to swap quotas in the OPEC deal. It said if a company sees production declining more sharply than required by the quota, another company could take up the slack.
Angola's crude oil exports are expected to increase to 1.65 million bpd in February, up from 1.61 million bpd in January.
Goldman Sachs reported that the annual average US production will fall by 60,000 bpd year on year in 2017 assuming the oil rig count in the US remains at current levels.
The Brent Pipeline System, which carries crude oil from the North Sea for processing at the Sullom Voe terminal in the Shetland Islands, is back online. Flows through the pipeline, which carries about 83,000 bpd of crude, resumed on December 17th and was in the process of returning to normal operating levels.
IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 235,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending December 23rd, increasing available refining capacity by 289,000 bpd from the previous week. IIR expects offline capacity to fall to 61,000 bpd in the week ending December 30th.
Colonial Pipeline Co is allocating space for Cycle 72 shipments on Line 20, its distillates line from Atlanta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee. It is also allocating space for Cycle 72 shipments on Line 1, its main gasoline line from Houston, Texas to Greensboro, North Carolina.
Enbridge Inc advised shippers of apportionment for January at its Mainline System. It said Line 4/67 nominations are at 33% for January.
Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT
WTI - Feb $53.69, up 63 cents
RB - Jan $1.6790, up 1 cent
HO - Jan $1.5898, up 2.59 cents
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