Oil Higher Ahead of Weekly EIA Report

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange spot-month oil futures at the formal session open were mixed Wednesday morning with West Texas Intermediate crude oil and ULSD futures rebounding from Tuesday's losses. Meanwhile RBOB extended lower ahead of the Energy Information Administration's data that's expected to show a crude oil stock draw for the week-ended August 4.

The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a 7.8 million bbl plunge in domestic crude oil last week, while gasoline stockpiles surprisingly increased by 1.5 million bbl and middle distillate supply fell by a less-than-expected 157,000 bbl during the same week.

The EIA's data is due out at 10:30 AM ET and if the report confirms the API data it would be the sixth consecutive weekly decline in domestic crude supply. Last week's EIA oil data showed crude stocks have fallen to a seven-month low of 481.9 million bbl.

The oil futures complex fell Tuesday on concerns over rising output by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Traders also doubted OPEC's ability stop its members from cheating on production quotas they agreed to last fall.

These concerns were stirred by recent media surveys showing OPEC oil production increased in July to a 2017 high of 33 million bpd due to higher output by Libya and Nigeria.

An OPEC technical committee met early this week in Abu Dhabi with Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, and Malaysia to discuss how they can improve quota compliance. After the meeting on Tuesday, OPEC said the four countries promised conformity with their production agreement.

In its Short-term Energy Outlook on Tuesday, EIA revised up its global oil demand estimate by 28,000 bpd for 2017 and by 16,000 bpd for 2018, but production forecasts for the United States were left steady at 9.3 million bpd for this year and 9.9 million bpd for 2018.

Despite the modest gains for WTI and ULSD, the market remains within recent trading range, and RBOB's weakness may be linked to refinery hedging, said Citi Futures analyst Tim Evans.

In early trade, September WTI crude futures were 26cts higher at $49.43 bbl. October Brent contract on the IntercontinentalExchange gained 31cts to $52.45 bbl, trading at a $3.02 premium to WTI, the biggest premium in 11 weeks.

NYMEX products were little changed, with September ULSD futures down 0.06cts at $1.6286 gallon, off a $1.6286 better than one-week spot low. September RBOB futures eased 0.61cts to $1.6147 gallon, near Tuesday's two-week low of $1.5956.

(BE)