Oil rises to $66 on U.S, China deal, others

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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures pushed through $56 (£43) per barrel for the first time this year.

Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister on the impact of US sanctions on Venezuela and the push for USA energy independence.

Oil was close to its 2019 high of nearly $67 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by OPEC-led supply cuts although gains were capped by concerns about slowing economic growth that could hit demand.

On Friday afternoon, oil prices reached their highest in three months and the highest so far this year, with Brent Crude exceeding $65 a barrel for the first time since November 2018.

At 10:39 GMT, April WTI crude oil is trading $56.33, down $0.13 or -0.21%, while April Brent crude oil is at $66.19, down $0.31 or -0.47%. The group of producer countries agreed late past year to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to prevent a large supply overhang from swelling. Recently, Saudi Arabia has suggested that they are going to cut production, and so far it seems to be working as far as price is concerned.

Venezuela is a major crude supplier to USA refineries.

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Moving forward, the API and the EIA will report on United States crude oil stockpiles on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, while Baker Hughes will release its United States oil-rig count on Friday (+3 prev.).

"Positive signs in the US-China trade talks helped boost sentiment across markets", ANZ bank said on Monday.

Prices have been bolstered by a tightening market because of supply cuts organized by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-affiliated producers like Russian Federation.

Looming over oil markets in the near term, meanwhile, is the rise in USA crude oil production of more than 2 million bpd in 2018, to a record 11.9 million bpd - with signs that US output will rise further.

India has for a while remained the leading destination for Nigeria's oil, according to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 2018 data, and International Olympic Committee has been one of the biggest Indian companies buying Nigerian crude cargoes.

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