Oil Price Rises Above $68, Highest Since 2015

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As of last night's close, Chevron shares are trading up about 8% over the past year.

Backwardation is normally associated with a market that is undersupplied and a low and declining level of inventories, while contango is normally associated with oversupply and high/rising stocks. Previous year at this time, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $2.359 on average in the United States.

History suggests that OPEC will gamble on tightening the market too much, with prices overshooting on the upside, rather than risk not tightening it enough and prices fall back. Crude production in October rose to the highest in more than 46 years, according to the latest figures available from the EIA, and there are few signs of significant reductions since then.

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According to the report, E&P companies would be aiming for profitable growth within existing oil acreage and cash flow, with improvement favoring companies with the greatest exposure to the best acreage and producers in the Permian Basin leading the way.

But a seasonal increase in stocks is normal during the first six months, which includes the principal maintenance period for many refineries.

"Renewed geopolitical risks (of which we have had plenty during the second half of 2017) are likely to be the key source of support and one which could upset our call for stable-to-lower prices during 2018", Hansen said.

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Brent crude futures for March delivery fell 41 cents to $67.66 a barrel, a 0.6 percent loss. Both exports and refinery operations were lower in December.

Having reached the levels of early December 2014 of about roughly $65 for the Brent and $60 for the WTI, benchmark oil futures have now the ambition to break permanently those levels which are now clearly in reach.

For now, OPEC members are sticking with the production quotas.

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Balancing the trend towards a tighter market is higher production in the United States, where the OPEC-led effort to push prices up is spurring more shale oil output. "Prices are getting into shale oil country and the market may wait for evidence as to whether producers are increasing output or not". "As a result, OPEC will struggle to meet its target of a reduction in OECD stocks to their five-year average", analysts at Capital Economics wrote in a research note Friday. Coupled with increasing technological advances, a pro-oil President in the White House and a surge in global demand, how long will Russian Federation hold back from starting an oil race with the U.S.?

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