Oil headed for the longest run of weekly losses since August 2015 as U.S. crude stockpiles remain stubbornly high and as Libyan production climbs toward the most in four years.
Futures were little changed in New York, down 3 percent for a fourth weekly decline. U.S. inventories fell less than forecast last week, keeping supplies more than 100 million barrels above the five-year average, according to data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday. Libya, exempt from the OPEC-led deal to cut supply, will boost output to 1 million barrels a day by the end of July, according to National Oil Co.
Oil slumped to the lowest close in seven months this week as concerns grew that rising U.S. supplies will offset the production curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia. New non-OPEC output next year will be more than enough to meet demand growth, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday in its first forecast for 2018.
“The risk is to the downside for oil,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney. “If prices drift toward $40 a barrel, there is likely to be some sort of reaction from OPEC.”
West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was at $44.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 1 cent, at 1:17 p.m. in Hong Kong. Total volume traded was about 27 percent below the 100-day average. The contract lost 27 cents to $44.46 on Thursday, the lowest since Nov. 14.
Brent for August settlement rose 4 cents to $46.96 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices are down 2.5 percent this week. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $2.25 to August WTI.
Libyan output will reach 900,000 barrels a day within days, National Oil Co. said on its website, citing Chairman Mustafa Sanalla. OPEC production jumped last month as Libya and Nigeria revived supply halted by attacks and political crises, a report from the group showed on Tuesday.
Canada’s oil-sands will increase production rapidly in the next three years, ranking only behind U.S. shale as the biggest contributor to global supply growth.