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Oil prices drop to three-months lows

14 March 2017

The resurgence of the USA shale-oil sector is proving to be the main area of concern for investors despite output cuts engineered by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers over the last few months.

Oil last week broke below the $50 a barrel level it had held above since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and 11 other nations started trimming supply on January 1.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and global Brent crude oil broke sharply last week with the U.S. futures contract taking out the psychological $50.00 level and the worldwide futures contract closing with enough downside momentum to challenge this level early this week.

That may also "keep the oil bulls in the barn. and the bears from going back into hibernation", said Williams, referring to optimistic bets on rising prices versus wagers that oil prices are due for further pain due to growing US oil production.

It said that crude production from seven major United States shale areas is forecast to climb by 109,000 barrels a day to 4.962 million barrels a day in April from March.

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Tesla does have previous experience in this space, getting a 80MWh battery plant installed in California in just 90 days. Given the progress in Tesla's new Gigafactory in Nevada, Rive believes the feat could be achieved in 100 days.

The national average has already started to totter, while SC - one of the cheapest states in the USA - is holding below $2/gal. California, on the other hand, is breaking above $3/gal for the first time since 2015 amid refinery issues and tighter fuel standards. "Is price the only consideration when it comes to the decision of extending cuts?"

Harold Hamm, head of one of the largest USA shale producers, said that industry would need to add output in a "measured way, or else we kill the market", suggesting no new dash for growth. Recently, both production and exports in the USA have hit record highs of around 9 million barrels a day, respectively.

Baker Hughes on Friday said USA drillers added oil rigs for the eighth straight week, taking the total to 617, the highest number since September 2015. "OPEC is unlikely to react until prices get down to about $40 a barrel". Instead, production has risen in the past two years to an all-time high of 11.2 million bpd, partly because a devaluation in the rouble reduced production costs.

The deal between Opec and non-Opec producers, which was agreed late past year and aimed to curb production, appears to be having little effect on the glut at the moment, with three of the last four weeks showing substantial inventory increases.

Oil prices drop to three-months lows