Oil Futures Mixed Ahead of Weekly Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange spot-month oil futures were mixed Wednesday morning as traders await the latest weekly supply and demand statistics to be released later Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning while technical pressure weighs on the complex after trading at multi-month highs, with the market overbought.

A survey of analysts estimate U.S. crude oil inventories declined during the week-ended Jan. 12 by 3.75 million barrels (bbl), with crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, seen drawn down by 2.0 million bbl.

During the week-ended Jan. 5, U.S. crude supply plunged 4.9 million bbl to a 2-1/2 year low of 419.5 million bbl, 63.6 million bbl, or 13.2%, lower than supply on-hand a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to issue its statistics at 4:30 p.m. EST, while EIA is set to release its report on Thursday. The reports are delayed a day because federal offices were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.

In early trade, NYMEX February WTI futures were 2 cents lower at $63.71 bbl after trading at a $64.89 three-year spot high during Tuesday's session. March Brent crude futures were 13cts lower at $69.02 bbl on the Intercontinental Exchange, trading at as a $5.31 bbl premium to WTI.

NYMEX February ULSD futures were 0.13 cent higher at $2.0647 gallon, off Tuesday's $2.1083 nearly three-year spot high. February RBOB futures advanced 1.21 cents to $1.8505 gallon.

On Tuesday, EIA in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report projected shale oil production at seven key U.S. producing regions would increase by 111,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.549 million bpd in February. This follows the EIA's forecast last week that U.S. crude production would average a record high of 10.3 million bpd in 2018, up 1.0 million bpd from 2017.

Overseas, the 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 non-OPEC producing countries continue to fully comply with their two-year agreement to cut crude oil production by 1.8 million bpd, said Kuwait oil minister Bakheet al-Rashidi.

OPEC will release its Monthly Oil Market Report on Thursday, Jan. 18, followed by the monthly Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency scheduled for release on Friday, Jan. 19.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com