Oil prices pause after sharp falls


UPDATE 5-Oil prices pause after sharp falls

* U.S. oil rig count up for record 22nd week - Baker Hughes
    * Libya, Nigeria output recovering, adding to surplus
    * Asian demand growth wobbles, despite Chinese import quotas
    * Market headed in right direction - Saudi energy minister

 (Updates prices)
    By Libby GeorgeLONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - Oil prices steadied on Monday,
pausing for breath after coming under pressure over the past
month from rising production in the United States, Libya and
Nigeria, which has taken the edge off an OPEC-led initiative to
support the market by cutting production.
    Brent crude futures <LCOc1> were trading 9 cents higher at
$47.46 per barrel by 1304 GMT.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures <CLc1> were
7 cents higher at $44.81 per barrel.
    Both benchmarks are down some 13 percent since late May,
when producers led by the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries extended a pledge to cut output by 1.8
million barrels per day (bpd) for an extra nine months.
    Analysts said a steady rise in U.S. production, along with
output increases in Libya and Nigeria, which are exempt from the
OPEC cuts, were undermining the OPEC-led effort in the near
    "There is no reason to be overly optimistic at the moment,"
said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
    Libya's oil production has risen by over 50,000 bpd to
885,000 bpd after the state oil firm settled a dispute with
Germany'sWintershall, a Libyan oil source told Reuters on
Monday. [nL8N1JG23W]
    In May, OPEC supplies jumped on the back of recovering
output from Libya and also Nigeria. [nL8N1JA2SE][nL8N1J62HY]
    In the United States, data on Friday showed a record 22nd
consecutive week of increases in the number of U.S. oil rigs,
bringing the count to 747, the most since April 2015.
    Investment bank Goldman Sachs said if the rig count holds,
U.S. oil production would increase by 770,000 bpd between the
fourth quarter of last year and the same quarter this year in
the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale oilfields.
    There are also indicators that demand growth in Asia, the
world's biggest oil-consuming region, is stalling. While China
increased the 2017 oil import quotas for its refineries, oil
demand growth has been slowing for some time, albeit from record
levels. [nL3N1JG3EX][nL3N1J51WN] [nL8N1HK050]
    Japan's customs-cleared crude imports fell 13.5 percent in
May from a year earlier, while India took in 4.2 percent less
crude in May than the year before. [nENNH6G0SY] [nL3N1JD1P5]
    Saudi Arabia's crude exports in April fell to 7.006 million
bpd, official data showed on Monday, while Saudi Energy Minister
Khalid al-Falih said the oil market simply needed time to
rebalance. [nL8N1JG0OQ] [nENNH6D0S1]
    "All signs point to significantly tightening in the oil
market in the coming months," Fritsch said.

 (Additional eporting by Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing
by Jane Merriman and Louise Heavens)
 ((Libby.George@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 7714; Reuters
Messaging: libby.george@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: GLOBAL OIL/ (UPDATE 5)

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

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