Baker Hughes reported the number of active rigs in the US increased by one unit, to 800 on the week

Recap: Despite staging a session comeback, oil prices settled at their lowest level in three weeks. Prices were hammered on Thursday after President Trump announced the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, which instilled concerns about a global trade war. Losses were pared as the dollar weakened and after Baker Hughes reported the number of active rigs in the U.S. increased by one unit, to 800 on the week. April WTI settled at $61.25 a barrel, up 26 cents, or 0.43%, for a weekly decline of 3.6%. Brent for May delivery rose 54 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $64.37 a barrel, down 4% on the week. 

April RBOB rose 0.5 cent, or 0.3%, to end at $1.9014 a gallon, while April heating oil lost 0.59 cent, or 0.3%, to finish at $1.8796 a gallon. For the week, gasoline lost 4.4%, while heating oil was off 4.7%.

Fundamental News: US energy companies added oil rigs for a sixth week in a row.  Baker Hughes reported that drillers added 1 oil rig in the week ending March 2nd, bringing the total count to 800, the highest level since April 2015. 

US President, Donald Trump, urged representatives from the rival oil and corn industries on Thursday to break a deadlock in talks over the future of the country’s biofuels policy by accepting a deal involving reforms sought by both sides.  President Donald Trump told the attendees of the Renewable Fuels Standard meeting that he supports a RIN cap for two years and supports raising blended ethanol levels.  Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Grassley said an emerging solution on reforms to US biofuels law would allow for a year-round 15% ethanol blend for motor fuel, which would lower RIN prices.  He said a cap or waiver for RIN prices would destroy biofuel demand and hurt corn farmers.   Senator Grassley, said no decisions were made at the White House meeting on Thursday on biofuels. He said the only agreement was to look at economic studies for impact of potential policy changes. 

Bloomberg reported that crude production from OPEC countries fell to a 10-month low in February, mainly due to maintenance at a field in the UAE and continued output declines in Venezuela.  Output from the 14 members of OPEC fell by 80,000 bpd to 32.28 million bpd in February. 

Chevron shut production at the North Sea Alba oil field after a weather-related power outage.  It is partially restored power and is working to restore full power at the platform. 

The North Sea Buzzard oil field output is still restricted, with the field pumping less than 100,000 bpd due to adverse weather conditions. 

Russia’s Energy Ministry reported that Russian oil extraction stood at 10.95 million bpd in February and has been steady for the past three months as a decline at small producers has been offset by a ramp-up in production by majors.  Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said that Russia was in full compliance with its obligations under a global deal to cut production.  He said Russia cut oil production by 300,400 bpd in February.  Russian oil pipeline exports in February stood at 4.162 million bpd. 

Libya’s oil production and exports are increasing to the highest level in years.  It has secured commitments from some of the world’s largest energy companies, including at least three new annual cargo-lifting contracts and a $450 million oil-field investment from France’s Total.  Shipments in February increased to 1.19 million bpd. 

According to Bloomberg, global refinery outages reached 6.3 million bpd in the week ending March 1st, from 5.3 million bpd in the previous week. 

Early Market Call – as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI – Apr $61.25, up 1 cent

RBOB – Apr $1.8866, down 1.45 cents

HO – Apr $1.8602, down 1.88 cents

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