U.S. Rig Count Increases; Oil Prices Slide

News on Monday that U.S. shale drillers increased 5 new rigs saw oil prices slide.

According to Baker Hughes energy services the additional 5 rigs brings the total to 820 until the week ending April 20, this is the highest since March 2015.

They also said that U.S. crude production since mid-2016 has risen to 10.54 million barrels per day and with the rising number of rigs it points to a further increase in production.

Russia is the foremost producer at nearly 11 million barrels per day.

Brent crude futures fell 0.2 percent, or 15 cents to $73.91 per barrel, up 20 percent from its low in February 2018.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 0.3 percent, or 18 cents to $68.22 a barrel.
Global Market Strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Kerry Craig said that the U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and Russia, has also put added pressure on prices.

May 12 Will Be the Deciding Factor

The U.S. has until May 12 to decide if they will leave the Iranian nuclear deal, which President Trump has said was ‘a bad deal’. If they do decide to leave there is a strong possibility that new sanctions will be imposed on Iran which could target their oil exports.

Iran’s President has said that there will be ‘severe consequences’ if the U.S. backs out of the nuclear deal.

There’s more…

President Trump reportedly accused the OPEC cartel of artificially boosting oil prices on Friday via Twitter. He said that it will not be accepted. This was met with criticism from a number of the top exporters within OPEC.

Russia’s ruble and Iran’s rial have experienced a slump since the U.S. imposed trade sanctions on those countries.

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