Oil prices fell on Thursday, pressured as USA crude stockpiles surged to their highest levels in nearly 17 months amid record production and as economic concerns cast doubt over growth in demand for fuel.
Crude oil prices are expected to finish the week higher, but the price action late in the week suggests the market may be getting a little top heavy. WTI whit a high of $64.79 going back to November 1 earlier this week.
Venezuelan crude production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) because of US sanctions.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $71.01 per barrel at 0042 GMT, up 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close. "Iranian production was stable at 2.7 million barrels per day, (but) could take a further hit if the United States cuts import waivers in May", said Jefferies bank on Friday.
Some analysts also wondered if the Libyan conflict was being overplayed. But after an early blitzkrieg, the warlord's advances seem to have slowed.
OPEC, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, are reducing output by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 for six months. OPEC has said the curbs must remain, but there are signs that stance is now softening.
However, President Vladimir Putin seemingly softened that stance.
The WTI Crude Oil market tried to rally during the day on Friday but gave back about half of the gains by the time we got into NY afternoon trading.
Opec+ members will meet in June to discuss oil policy. He described oil market conditions at present as a "forecasting nightmare".
But Putin, who's Russia's ultimate dealmaker, said he wasn't decided yet on how Moscow's cooperation with OPEC should go.
Siluanov said oil prices could drop to $40 per barrel or even less for up to one year.
Meanwhile, money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to April 9, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
"We think that the Russian comments of this week are a sign that we are starting to approach this zone of divergence of interest (with Saudi Arabia), which will make it hard to maintain the OPEC+ agreement above current prices".