Banks again raise oil price forecast for 2018, WSJ survey says

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Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore USA sanctions on Iran, which would likely reduce its oil exports.

The period will also give a lifeline for those seeking waivers to continue importing oil from Iran or secure investments now parked in the country.

According to the survey, OPEC pumped about 610,000 bpd below this implied target in April, not least because of the involuntary declines in Venezuela and Angola.

Growing U.S. crude production and stockpiles have weighed on the market.

Moreover, oil prices will stay affected by Trump's decision on May 12 to reinstate the U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

The approaching May 12 deadline and the very real possibility that President Trump will not grant Iran another waiver has kept fuel prices supported in recent weeks. "For the time being, the risk for the oil price is on the upside". More US oil will likely flow. At the moment traders are unwilling to sign contracts for Iranian crude and re-fined products that would be valid after May 12.

Unintended supply disruptions are rife in the cartel.

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US West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $67.82 per barrel. Hopefully war will be avoided, but if it breaks out, some analysts see a potential price spike as high as $250 per barrel.

The US oil production also reached a record of 10.62 million barrels per day, rise of over a quarter since the middle part of 2016.

Scott Modell, managing director of energy consultancy Rapidan Energy Group, said the lead-up to May 12 is increasing the geopolitical risk premium on crude oil and "everyone - including Iran and United States shale producers - would stand to benefit as knee-jerk bullish headlines goose up oil prices", but it will have little to no impact on Iranian exports yet.

Since 2016, Iran has since managed to up its production capacity to pre-sanctions levels of 3.9 million barrels per day, with output now averaging 3.81m bpd in compliance with Opec restrictions.

On Wednesday, the oil prices continued to remain steady, as they surrendered their early gains once the data showed that the U.S. shale supply increased whereas the Iranian exports also rose. Another reason for the upward trend in exports is the renewed price differential between Brent and WTI.

Total products supplied over the past four-week period averaged over 20.1 million barrels per day, up by 2.7 percent from the same period previous year.

Oil has topped United States dollars 75 a barrel this year for the first time since 2014, and was trading near USD 74 on Monday. US data showed that stockpiles last week climbed the most since January, beating estimates. We expect bunker prices may continue slight upward evolution next week.