Saudi urges oil producers to extend unity beyond 2018

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USA oil production is booming and is forecast to top that of heavyweight Saudi Arabia and rival Russian Federation this year, a global energy agency said yesterday.

It was the first time that Saudi Arabia had publicly raised the possibility of a new form of coordination among oil producers after 2018.

The price of crude has risen about 50 per cent since June, with the USA benchmark now trading around $63 a barrel, on evidence of strong global economic growth and a pact among OPEC countries and Russian Federation to limit their production.

Khalid al-Falih, speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting later in the day of the joint ministerial committee which oversees implementation of the cuts, said extending cooperation would convince the world that coordination among producers was "here to stay".

The main price driver has been a production cut by major producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation since January past year.

"This doesn't necessarily mean sticking barrel by barrel to the same limits or cuts, or production targets country by country that we signed up to in 2016, but assuring stakeholders, investors, consumers and the global community that this is something that is here to stay".

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that global oil stocks have tightened substantially, aided by OPEC cuts, demand growth and Venezuelan production hitting near 30-year lows. "And we are going to work together".

"We had such a meteoric rise in the oil market recently and we were overbought quite a bit".

Moreover, global demand for oil was robust in 2017, but is expected to slow down in 2018, the IEA said.

NEW YORK, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Oil prices ended higher on Wednesday ahead of the release of USA petroleum data that was expected to show a ninth straight weekly drawdown in crude inventories.

Total OPEC-14 crude oil production averaged 32.42 million barrels per day in December, a minor increase of 42,000 barrels per day over the previous month, OPEC said in its January Oil Market Report.

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