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Oil prices inch lower after concluding statement from OPEC

Infrastructure problems in Colorado could be a drag on U.S. crude oil inventories in the coming days.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Oil prices inch lower as a series of economic factors tug and pull on investor confidence in early Friday trading. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Oil prices inch lower as a series of economic factors tug and pull on investor confidence in early Friday trading. File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices drifted lower from the previous session at the start of Friday trading even after positive production talks in Istanbul from OPEC members.

Crude oil prices moved in volatile territory for much of the previous session after the U.S. Energy Information Administration painted a mixed picture of the energy sector by raising this year's forecast for the average price of oil, but lowering it for next year. Though crude oil supplies showed increases, data on a drop in U.S. fuel inventories swayed investors enough to lift oil higher by the end of the trading day Thursday.

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Word from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that meetings on the sidelines of energy conference in Istanbul were "constructive" wasn't quite enough to lift crude oil prices higher at the start of trading Friday in New York.

The price for Brent crude oil was flat to start the day at $52.01 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for crude oil, gained 0.3 percent to open at $50.59 per barrel.

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Brent is trading in the December contract, while WTI is still in November.

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OPEC members last month in Algeria agreed to work on a proposal to cap production at 33 million barrels per day at the high end, a level that's about 39,000 bpd lower than current OPEC output. Some member states have said upholding the Algerian proposal depended in part on cooperation from non-member states. In a statement Friday from OPEC on the outcome of the meetings in Istanbul, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said support was growing from non-member states.

"We are building on Algiers," he said.

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Russia sent mixed signals about its participation in the Algerian proposal earlier in the week.

The price of crude could be influenced by movements in global stock markets as third quarter earnings season gets underway. Results from first-out-of-the-gate Alcoa this week sent stocks on Wall Street lower and recent data from the U.S. Labor Department on first-time claims for unemployment could support a move to raise key rates in the United States, which would influence the value of the U.S. dollar, and subsequently oil prices.

Oil prices on Friday could also move after Baker Hughes releases its weekly counts on rig activity, which could be a gauge on industry confidence depending on movements. Further support for a rally came Friday morning after Plains All American Pipeline reported problems with infrastructure from Colorado City.

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RELATED OPEC data show a cut is necessary to meet Algerian proposal

"Plains estimates that deliveries to [the U.S. storage hub in] Cushing and connecting carriers at Wichita Falls from the Wichita Falls station will be suspended on Oct. 14, 2016 due to the unavailability of crude oil at Wichita Falls," the company said.

That could influence storage levels in the United States and provide further support for a rally at least in WTI.

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