Oil, Crude Mixed in Friday Trade

Los Angeles (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures nearest delivery and Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange were mixed early ahead of the holiday delayed midmorning release of Energy Information Administration domestic weekly oil supply data while equities markets edged higher.

Data released report released Thursday late afternoon by the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly increased, up 6.9 million barrels (bbl) to 448.2 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 21.

According to federal data, domestic crude supplies are 1.1% above a year ago and about 7% higher than the five-year average, which, along with record domestic production, has been a factor in oil futures price pressure.

With the United States emerging as one of the biggest oil producers this year, EIA projects that U.S. oil production would average at a record high 12.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up 1.2 million bpd or 11% year-on-year.

At 10:20 a.m. ET, Nymex February West Texas Intermediate futures gained $0.28 to $44.89 bbl, while ICE February Brent crude eased $0.07 to $52.09 bbl. Nymex January ULSD futures lost 1.35 cents to $1.6648 gallon while January RBOB futures advanced 0.65 cent to $1.3105 gallon.

Earlier this month, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and nine non-OPEC oil producing countries led by Russia agreed to joined cuts of 1.2 million bpd that take effect Jan. 1 in an attempt to ease the supply glut and stabilize the falling oil prices.

However, during the Thursday interview Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak blamed the White House for continued volatility in oil prices, citing the rising protectionism and the unpredictability of the U.S. administration as one of the contributing factors to the uncertainty.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com