Crude oil flat after recent pullback

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Oil rose on Thursday, supported by the expectation of renewed United States sanctions on Iran, declining output in Venezuela, and continuing strong demand.

The push to ship more crude overseas follows the widening spread between the global benchmark, Brent, and USA marker, West Texas Intermediate, from around $3 per barrel in early March to more than $6 per barrel this week.

Crude oil for delivery in May was trading lower by Rs 13 or 0.29 per cent at Rs 4,545 per barrel with a business volume of 1,889 lots at the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX).

French President Emmanuel Macron's prediction that the US will pull out of the Iran nuclear accord stoked concerns about a renewal of sanctions that would slash crude exports from OPEC's third-largest producer. Under the agreement, Iran suspended its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions. In terms of the upside risk to oil prices, we think that anything north of $80 for Brent crude and WTI above $75 could firmly take place. Brent crude is now above $74.0. A slight suggestion that President Trump might accept a revised deal between the six Western powers who signed the original nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday did halt the price rise, but it was temporary.

Surging US production, which hit 10.59 million bpd last week, has encouraged record-high US exports.

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The authority also said gasoline inventories had gone up by 800,000 barrels in the reporting period, compared with a 3-million-barrel decline a week earlier.

Crude prices inched up on Thursday, staying within sight of their highest levels in more than three years, as geopolitical tension in the Middle East and concerns about supply disruptions in key oil-producing nations provided support.

There is a price divergence in the market that could raise some concerns amongst traders.

The company said the improved after-tax adjusted results reflect higher realized crude oil selling, prices, lower operating costs and depreciation, depletion and amortization expense, which was partially offset by lower production volumes, primarily because of sold-off assets. Chief Financial Officer Brad Halverson said, however, that first-quarter adjusted profit per share "will be the high watermark for the year".

Crude imports climbed 539,000 b/d last week to 8.469 million b/d, while refinery utilization rates averaged 90.8% for the week ending April 20, down 1.6%.

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