Bullish Oil Signs Show Saudi Arabia's $80 Price Goal Within Reach

Image Oil Industry Faces Problems Ahead

Oil Prices Rise Amid Lower US Stockpiles, Rising Global Tensions

At 1000 GMT, June ICE Brent crude futures were up 65 cents at $74.13/b, the highest level since November 2014, while the NYMEX May WTI contract was up 56 cents at $69.03/b.

OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia would be happy for crude to rise to $80 or even $100, three industry sources said, a sign Riyadh will seek no changes to a supply-cutting deal even though the agreement's original target is within sight.

Brent crude oil futures were up 0.87 percent at Dollars 74.08 per barrel, from their last close while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.74 percent, at USD 68.98 a barrel.

The North American crude oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, crossed above $69 per barrel Wednesday night, its highest price point since December 2, 2014.

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Oil rallied above $69/bbl after a surprise drop in USA inventories added to signs the market is in balance before a key OPEC meeting.

The oil price recovery has been driven by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries restraining output.

Meanwhile, the market is looking ahead to meetings between OPEC and Russian energy ministers on Thursday and Friday in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.

The cartel's supply cut appears to be working because prices are rising at a time when USA oil put is reaching near record levels and continuing to rise. US gasoline demand surged to a record high of 9.9 MMbbl a day before the summer driving season when consumption typically peaks.

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The beginning of summer may herald the end of a boom for the fuel that underpinned crude's rally into a bull market a year ago. The shale oil sector's resilience is thanks to technological advances and lower production costs that not only has set OPEC on its heels but could soon dethrone Russian Federation as the world's largest oil producer.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis Gestion, told CNBC on Thursday that "oil prices are high because the dollar is low" and warned that "massive supply management" has always been likely to lead to an "artificial" jump in the price of oil. The group, along with Russian Federation, agreed to scale back oil extraction as the price of a barrel of crude hovered around $50 in January 2017.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) will make a recommendation to OPEC about whether or not the production cut deal should be extended into 2019.

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