U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 13.8 million barrels in the week to March 5 to 498.4 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for an 816,000-barrel rise, according to the EIA.
Oil flows from Saudi Arabia as monitored by two companies, Petro-Logistics and Kpler, suggest a smaller decline in February despite the kingdom’s promised voluntary production cut.
Brent crude futures for May hit $71.38/bbl in early Asian trade, the highest since Jan. 8, 2020. The front-month WTI price touched $67.98/bbl earlier, the highest since October 2018.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, took aim at U.S. shale producers following the OPEC+ meeting on March 4, saying: “‘Drill, baby, drill’ is gone forever.”
Both Brent and WTI contracts surged more than 4% on March 5 after OPEC and allies, together called OPEC+, extended oil output cuts into April, granting small exemptions to Russia and Kazakhstan.
The market has been expecting the OPEC+ group of producers to ease supply cuts but sources say some key members had suggested that oil output across the OPEC+ group should be kept unchanged.
The lawsuit filed by Exxon Mobil’s natural gas business said last month’s massive winter storm and declarations of emergencies in Texas prevented it from fulfilling its supply commitment to Macquarie, the second largest U.S. gas marketer.
OPEC and other key exporters such as Russia, a grouping dubbed OPEC+, meet on March 4 and are expected to discuss allowing as much as 1.5 million bbl/d back into the market