Russia Boosts 2017 Crude Oil Production To 30-Year High

Oil posts strongest year opening since 2014; Iran unrest pushes up crude

In a research note published late Monday, Goldman lifted its Brent price forecast for next year to $62 a barrel and its WTI projection to $57.50 a barrel.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark, were down 53 cents, or 0.8 per cent at $66.34 a barrel. The spread between the benchmarks widened throughout the year, as Brent responded to the drawdown in supply from major world producers while US output continued to grow.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude futures ended the year with a 17 percent rise, supported by ongoing supply cuts by top producers OPEC and Russian Federation as well as strong demand from China.

Iran's crude oil production and exports have not been impacted by the unrest spreading across the country, Iranian oil and shipping sources said on Tuesday, as a crackdown intensified against anti-government demonstrations that began last week.

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Analysts expect United States production to top 10-M BPD in the next few weeks and to keep growing, limiting efforts by other producers to cap global supplies.

Moody's believes North American exploration & production companies, after strong capital investment in 2017, will aim for profitable growth within existing oil acreage and cash flow in the new year, with improvement favouring companies with the greatest exposure to the best acreage and producers in the Permian Basin leading the way. In the last quarter of 2016, Russia's production had hit a post-Soviet era high, while year over year in 2016, production grew to 10.96 million bpd, from 10.72 million bpd in 2015.

Oil prices have lost ground in the days following last week.

The Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other leading oil producers agreed to cut their combined oil production by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of 2017 to prop up prices.

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