Oil falls on shock US stock builds, Opec supply worries

Energy ETFs Plunge as OPEC Looks to Higher Production

USA crude and distillate stockpiles fell last week, while petrol inventories increased unexpectedly, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday.

Brent crude futures slipped 23 cents to settle at $79.80 a barrel, while US crude lost 36 cents to $71.84 a barrel.

The premium of Brent crude over U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures neared $8 a barrel, close to its widest in three years.

Rising supply in the United States, where shale production is forecast to hit a record high in June, has limited the upward move in prices. However, Russia's Energy Minister Novak declined to comment on the same, saying that all proposals will be discussed in June's Vienna meeting.

Two months later, oil prices have reached the level that Saudi Arabia is said to have been aiming all along to boost the valuation of Aramco-Brent Crude at $80 a barrel. Its crude exports averaged 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) in the January-April period, 28 percent less than the same period in 2017.

Oil prices eased on Wednesday as the possibility of higher OPEC output weighing on the market, although geopolitical risks are expected to keep prices near multi-year highs.

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Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Charles Schumer, U.S. senate democratic leader, held a news conference at a Washington Exxon station to criticize Trump for gasoline prices jumping 25 percent since the brash billionaire took office previous year.

Further downside pressure on WTI came after the USA government expressed concerns over the high prices of crude and OPEC and Russian Federation said they could announce an increment of their production at the next meeting of the carte next month.

A freefall in crude production in Venezuela is also impacting oil prices as it is influencing the pace of stock reduction due to which the oil price now "is somewhat above what we forecast", Novak said.

Natixis, a London-based commodity research house, says: "Due to sanctions, Iran's 2.5-300,000 barrels a day of export will not happen, which Opec (the petro exporting nations' cartel) members are likely to replace".

OPEC and its partners made a decision to extend its production cuts till the end of 2018 in Vienna on November 30, as the oil cartel and its allies step up their attempt to end a three-year supply glut that has savaged crude prices and the global energy industry.

USA crude stockpiles are forecast to have declined by 2.8 million barrels last week, which would be the third straight weekly fall.

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