Recap: Oil prices traded on both sides of unchanged, as traders sorted through tensions between Iran and the U.S; fighting between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and expectations of higher U.S. production and exports. November WTI briefly traded above $52 a barrel, while December Brent briefly recaptured $58 a barrel. Caught between the array of news, prices finished close to unchanged. November WTI tacked on 1 cent, or 0.02%, to settle at $51.88 a barrel. December Brent finished up 6 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $57.88 a barrel.
November RBOB added 0.8%, to $1.63 a gallon and November heating oil ended at $1.81 a gallon, down 0.2%.
Fundamental News: Bloomberg reported that crude oil stocks held in Cushing, Oklahoma is expected to have increased by 1 million barrels to 64.8 million barrels in the week ending October 13th.
Oil production from northern Iraq has declined due to the conflict between the Baghdad government and the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil. About 275,000 bpd of production has been halted and exports have declined by about 90,000 bpd. However, this could be a temporary halt. How much this impacts exports of crude from the region in the coming days will depend on how the three governments involved in that oil flow respond. The only route to export oil produced in northern Iraq is through the Kurdish-controlled pipeline to the Turkish border and then to the Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Meanwhile the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government was expected to make a statement on Tuesday evening urging the Kurdish factions to avoid civil war.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, called for talks under the constitution to resolve the Kurdish crisis. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Barzani pledged to preserve the achievements of the Kurds despite the Kirkuk setback. He said the independence vote will not be lost in vain.
The US military said it received mixed accounts of the death toll in a clash on Monday between Iraqi and Kurdistan forces, with between three and 11 fighters killed. A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State said he had no information about Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk despite reports from Iraqi Kurdistan.
The IEA’s Executive Director, Fatih Birol, said the conflict between Iraq and KRG will not have a major impact on markets for the time being.
A senior Iranian official said US President Donald Trump’s revised hardline policy towards Iran will have little impact on Iran’s ambition to develop its vital oil sector and attract foreign investment. Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister for Trade and International Affairs, Amir Zamaninia, said Iran hopes to sign 10 new deals with foreign companies to develop new oil and gas fields by March 2018. Iran is negotiating 28 contracts with foreign companies, including many of Europe’s top oil companies, under a new development contract. Iran aims to raise its oil production capacity to 4.7 million bpd by 2021 from the current 3.8 million bpd.
JBC Energy said Europe’s diesel demand could fall by 10,000 to 20,000 bpd next year on the continuing decline in sales of diesel and the flattening out of trucking activity.
Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT
WTI - Nov $52.24, up 36 cents
RBOB - Nov $1.6441, up 1.38 cents
HO - Nov $1.8177, up 81 points
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