SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Thursday, as Iran said it could earn a small increase in OPEC oil production, paving the way for the cartel to agree to an increase in oil prices. supply during a meeting on Friday.
However, prices were prevented from falling further by the record of refineries in the United States and a large decrease in crude inventories, a sign of a strong demand for fuel in the world's largest economy.
Brent LCOc1 crude futures settled at $ 74.51 per barrel at 0152 GMT, down 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, since its last close.
U.S. Crude futures West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 were at $ 65.64 a barrel, down 7 cents, or 0.1 percent.
Iran, a major supplier to the producer cartel of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said on Wednesday it could agree to a small increase in the group's output during a meeting to be held at the headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC in Vienna on June 22 together with a non-OPEC member but the main producer, Russia.
"There seems to be an air of confidence that this agreement will move forward," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific operations at the OANDA futures brokerage in Singapore.
"We expect OPEC and Russia to gradually add supplies to the market next year, compensating for the interruption of the supply of almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in Venezuela," said Barclays Bank.
Tehran had previously resisted pressure from the OPEC de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, to increase production.
Even with Iran appearing online, analysts do not expect a harmonious meeting of OPEC.
" Our expectations are for a time, a discordant and highly geopolitical meeting of OPEC +, "Japanese financial group Mitsubishi UFJ said in a note to clients.
OPEC, together with other key producers, including Russia, began to retain production in 2017 to prop up prices, but an adjustment market in 2018 caused orders from more consumers by the main consumers.
In a sign of high demand, US refineries processed a seasonal record of 17.7 million bpd of crude oil last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), said Wednesday.
In the midst of heavy consumption, commercial US crude inventories UU They fell by 5.9 million barrels in the week to June 15, to 426.53 million barrels C-STK-T-EIA, the EIA said.
U.S. Crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA was flat week after week, remaining at a record 10.9 million bpd.
Beyond the short term, Barclays said there were headwinds for oil prices.
"Deleveraging in China and a weakening of the narrative around synchronous global economic growth are likely to add headwinds to all commodities," he said.
To see a graph of US crude production UU., Inventories, click on: reut.rs/2JS8Hwd
Reports of Henning Gloystein; Edition of Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford