Oil Price Rises as Saudi Output Dips, US Drilling Stalls

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3%, at $68.68 barrel.US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3%, at $68.68 barrel.

Oil prices rose on Monday after Saudi crude production registered a surprising dip in July and American shale drilling appeared to plateau.

Spot Brent crude oil futures were at $73.42 per barrel on Monday, up 21 cents, or 0.3%, from their last close, CNBC reported.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.3%, at $68.68 barrel. US energy companies last week cut oil rigs for a second time in the past three weeks, as the rate of growth has slowed over the past couple of months.

Drillers cut two oil rigs in the week to Aug. 3, bringing the total count down to 859, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

Many US shale oil drillers posted disappointing quarterly results in recent weeks, hit by rising operating costs, hedging losses and a fall in crude prices away from 2018 highs reached between May and July.

Outside the United States, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia pumped around 10.29 million barrels per day of crude in July, two OPEC sources said on Friday, down about 200,000 bpd from a month earlier.

That drop came despite a pledge by the Saudis and top producer Russia in June to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia pledging a “measurable” supply boost.

US investment bank Jefferies said in a note that “the Saudi and Russian production surges appear to be more limited” than initially expected, adding that bullish market sentiment was also fueled by the imminent reinstatement of US sanctions against Iran.

Still, with Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia now all producing 10-11 million bpd of crude, just three countries now meet around a third of global oil demand.

Despite the firm prices on Monday, traders said one relief to markets was an announcement by Saudi Arabia over the weekend that oil shipments through the Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb had been resumed.

Saudi Arabia temporarily halted oil shipments through the lane on July 25 after attacks on two oil tankers by the Yemeni Houthi movement that has been the target of regular and indiscriminate attacks by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab and western states to reinstate the fugitive president, Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.


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