OPEC basket rises in price

Crude oil prices should remain around $50 per barrel during 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy Outlook released on January 11. "Oman is an important player in global oil markets and it's agreement to cut production can be significant in driving prices higher", said a financial expert in Oman.

Just two weeks into the OPEC supply-cut deal and a day after Saudi Arabia signaled that it had cut more than pledged, the cartel itself does not see more than 80 percent compliance, and thinks it would be "acceptable" even if it were to deliver just 50 percent of promised cuts.

In a deal last year, OPEC countries agreed to reduce oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day from 1 January this year to end the global oil glut.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers are unlikely to extend their agreement to cut oil output beyond six months, because of the level of compliance with the deal and the rebalancing of the market, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.

Falih's words were also not entirely positive.

Oil has advanced since the deal among OPEC members and 11 other nations to temper global supply.

"The commitment of Saudi Arabia and OPEC to lower output is obvious, and will become more so when hard output data are produced in early February", Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center, told Arab News.

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China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said the country's net crude imports will rise 5.3 per cent to 396 million tonnes in 2017, with crude consumption headed for a record 594 million tonnes or 12 million bpd this year.

The price of oil to remain relatively low for this year and next, according to the US Department of Energy.

Achieving stability in the oil market is deemed to reflect positively on the economy.

Both crudes have firmly held above $52 a barrel this year, faring far better than the average price of $41 a barrel for light crude and $39.19 for heavy oil in 2016.

Total global LNG consumption is projected to be 422 million tons in 2030, nearly two-thirds higher than last year's level.

"We do not really expect the oil price to strengthen much more in the first quarter of 2017".

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