Brent settles higher on easing lockdowns, U.S. crude falls amid storage shortage
By Laura Sanicola NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.
By Laura Sanicola
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude prices settled lower on Tuesday, falling about 3% as domestic stockpiles were expected to have risen closer to record highs amid tightening storage despite plans to cut production during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, markets were supported on hopes of demand recovering across the world, as governments announced the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, although Britain said its too dangerous to relax a lockdown for fear of a deadly second outbreak.
At least 16 U.S. states looked set to restart business.
"Demand destruction has leveled off in the U.S., but production cuts have just begun in earnest," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group."
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude
Global benchmark Brent crude
U.S. crude inventories were expected to have risen nearly 11 million barrels last week, their 14th weekly build, while refined product stockpiles also likely rose, analysts polled by Reuters estimated. [EIA/S]
In the previous week, crude inventories rose by 15 million barrels to 518.6 million barrels, putting them within striking distance of an all-time record of 535 million barrels set in 2017, the U.S. government said.
Graphic: Cushing crude stockpiles surge, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/rlgvdybepoj/cushing%20storage.PNG
Globally, storage onshore was estimated to be about 85% full as of last week, according to data from consultancy Kpler.
In a sign of the energy industry's desperation for places to store petroleum, oil traders are resorting to hiring expensive U.S. vessels to store gasoline or ship fuel overseas, shipping sources said.
Texas energy regulators will next week vote on a controversial proposal to reduce the state's oil output after delaying it on concerns of legal challenges.
As U.S. crude output continues to fall, shale producers are butting heads with their service companies over the termination of purchase agreements. Casillas Petroleum Resource Partners is suing Continental Resources for backing out of a $200 million oil and gas deal.
That is more than the 10 million bpd of cuts agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other allied producers. The reductions are due to be implemented from May 1.
OPEC oil supply in April is at its highest since December 2018, a company that tracks oil shipments said, as producers pump at will before the supply curbs takes effect.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said oil markets would start balancing out once an output deal took effect, but no significant rise in prices was likely in the near future due to high levels of global storage.
"Despite a frantic effort to reduce production, more output cuts will be required in the coming weeks before a price bottom
anywhere across the complex can be considered," Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois, said in a report.
Graphic: World population under lockdown , https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/dgkplkobvbx/jet2.JPG
(Reporting by Laura Sanicola in New York, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Tom Brown)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.