Iraq Takes Saudi's Spot As #2 Oil Exporter To US

The EIA data also showed USA oil production had returned to pre-hurricane levels, climbing to more than 9.5 million barrels a day.

OPEC and some major producers outside the cartel, including Russian Federation, first agreed late past year to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark for the price of oil, was more or less unchanged at $52.21 per barrel.

"This is likely what's continuing to weigh on the crude market at present", Michael Loewen, a commodities strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto. said in reference to the increase in supplies from US oil fields.

OPEC is considering an exit strategy to avoid flooding the market once the agreement finally expires, people familiar with the talks said this week. Resistance for Brent crude stood between $58.50 and $59 a barrel, Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, told CNBC earlier this week.

West Texas Intermediate for December delivery slipped 29 cents to settle at $52.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded was about 46 percent below the 100-day average.

In August, Saudi Arabia announced it would cap its daily exports to 6.6 million barrels in a bid to accelerate the rebalancing of global inventories and has more or less stuck to this cap since then, ceding market share to other large producers, despite higher client demand as per statements from Saudi officials. "Initially, it was thought to be related to the hurricane, but to me it's becoming a little more structural".

Iraq, Bloomberg's data showed, shipped 18.8 million barrels to the September, while Saudi exports to this destination came in 2.9 million bpd lower. "At the end of the day, crude oil demand is only one part of the equation". Gasoline and distillate inventories fell this week, down more than 5 million barrels respectively.

"The exports are ripping higher", Loewen said. The week before, Iraq exported just 423,000 bpd to the U.S.

TransCanada Corp said in a filing on Thursday that it is seeking to raise the temporary discounted spot rate for light crude on its 700,000 barrel-per-day Marketlink pipeline.

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