Oil prices yesterday hovered close to 2019 highs at $67.14, bolstered by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but was prevented from rising further by slowing growth in the global economy.
Worldwide benchmark Brent crude was trading at $67.40 per barrel at 1230 GMT on Friday, after opening Monday at $66.39 a barrel - a 1.5 percent weekly gain.
Prices continue to be supported by supply cuts led by the OPEC and its allies, including Russian Federation.
As for the USA shale juggernaut, Kevin O'Brien, chief business officer at Orbital Insight, told Bloomberg television that inventories stateside have climbed about 3 percent in the past 30 day, s "and we're thinking there will continue to be a build up in the actual inventory, driven in part by the shale operators". Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that surging US supply likely means that expected non-OPEC supply will grow by 1.9 million bpd this year, more than offsetting the OPEC cuts.
A presidential spokesman for Opec member Nigeria said in a statement on Wednesday that the country was willing to limit output "so that prices (for oil) would go up".
Much of that growing output is coming from US shale fields, where drillers use advanced methods to squeeze crude oil and natural gas from rock formations.
West Texas Intermediate ended Thursday's session 20 cents lower at $56.96 per barrel, while Brent fell by 13 cents to $66.95, on the strength of Energy Information Administration numbers showing that USA crude stocks rose 3.7 million barrels in the week to February 15, to 454.5 million barrels, the highest since October 2017, despite exports surging 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to a record 3.6 million bpd.
USA crude oil stockpiles rose for a fifth straight week to the highest in more than a year, as production hit a record high and seasonal maintenance kept refining rates low last week, the Energy Information Administration said.
Also last week, USA production hit a record 12 million bpd.
With U.S. supply surging, Goldman Sachs said it expected non-OPEC supply to grow by 1.9 million bpd this year, more than offsetting the OPEC cuts.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said in its report that crude stockpiles increased by 1.3 million barrels to 448.5 million barrels last week.
Analysts say US output will rise further and that oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.
Of that, the bank said, "we could be seeing some weeks with 4.6-million bpd of gross crude exports by end-year, adding to this week's new record" of 3.6-million bpd.
However, surging USA crude oil production, is partly offsetting OPEC's cuts.
Given the supply and demand picture, Goldman said it expected an average Brent price of $60-$65 per barrel in 2019 and 2020.