Oil prices flat in choppy trade, rising U.S. production weighs


UPDATE 6-Oil prices flat in choppy trade, rising U.S. production weighs

* Saudi Arabia, Kuwait signal likely cut extension
    * Rising U.S. production, surge in gasoline stocks weigh
    * China's gasoline production surges

 (New throughout, updates prices and market activity; new
byline, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
    By Julia SimonNEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices were little
changed on Thursday in a seesaw trading session, as investors
weighed rising U.S. production against comments from leading
Gulf oil producers that an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts was
    Brent futures <LCOc1> were up 15 cents to $53.08 a barrel
were at 11:40 a.m. EDT (1540 GMT). U.S. crude futures <CLc1>
were up 6 cents at $50.50 a barrel.
    OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signalled that the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other
producers, including Russia, would likely extend their oil
output cut beyond June. [nL8N1HS1D7] [nD5N1BD04F]
    At a press conference in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that "there is consensus
building but it's not done yet."[nL8N1HS1D7]
    James Williams, president of energy consultant WTRG
Economics in London, Arkansas, said the minister's bullish
statement did not lift prices much because of rising U.S. shale
    "You would have thought that that would have reversed
yesterday's fall, but it didn't," he said. "We're getting a
little bit of price recovery, but it's still not enough to
reverse the shale threat."
    On Wednesday, crude prices tumbled more than 3.5 percent as
U.S. government data showed domestic crude stocks <C-STK-T-EIA>
fell less than expected in the latest week and gasoline stocks
posted a surprising 1.5-million-barrel build. <USOILG=ECI>
    "The market sentiment appears to be that the increases in
U.S. shale production outweighs the OPEC action and the market
is keeping the loss we had yesterday," he said.
    U.S. crude oil production rose to 9.25 million barrels per
day, official data showed, up almost 10 percent since mid-2016
<C-OUT-T-EIA>. U.S. inventories of 532 million barrels remained
near all-time records reached in March.
    Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of French oil and gas
giant Total, said on Thursday prices could fall again by the end
of the year due to fast growth in U.S. shale production.
    "The rebalancing in U.S. crude stocks may have got underway,
but concerns about further gasoline builds are rife even as the
U.S. summer driving season shifts up a gear," said Stephen
Brennock, an analyst with PVM Oil Associates.
    In China, signs emerged that refiners were using record
crude imports to produce more fuel such as gasoline and diesel
than the country can absorb. [nL3N1HR20E]
    China's March gasoline output rose 2.5 percent year-on-year
to 11.2 million tons, the highest level since at least April
2014, China'sNational Bureau of Statistics said, adding to an
Asian market that is already well supplied. [nL3N1HS1C4]

 (Additional reporting by Libby George in London, Henning
Gloystein; in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and David
 ((Julia Simon, julia.simon@thomsonreuters.com, +16462238925))

Keywords: GLOBAL OIL/ (UPDATE 6)

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets , Commodities

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