Crude Oil Inventories Mixed, USD/CAD Disjointed

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The price of Brent crude oil - the worldwide benchmark - hit $80 per barrel for the first time since late 2014 on Thursday morning as the commodity's rapid price growth in 2018 continues unabated.

Shortly before 1000 GMT, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July jumped to United States dollars 80.18 a barrel - the highest level since November 2014. High oil prices and low finding cost in the region which has relatively shallow wells help drive exploration in the farm belt where an average well produces 40-50 barrels-a-day over a 15-20 year life span.

Global oil supplies could be hit by President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, and also by falling production in crisis-hit Venezuela, the International Energy Agency said this week.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed. An exected drawdown is USA stockpiles could see WTI break higher once more.

In 2017, China surpassed the United States to become the world's top crude oil importer as its domestic production declined while it kept the title of world's largest oil consumer for the ninth consecutive year, and while it expanded refining capacity, and reduced restrictions on oil imports and refined oil product exports.

As a result of its surging production, USA crude is increasingly appearing on global markets as exports.

"Crude oil prices have risen by almost 75 [percent] since June 2017".

The IEA said the previous round of sanctions, which were lifted in early 2016, cut Iran's crude exports by more than 1 million bpd.

The agency trimmed its 2018 world demand growth projection by 40,000 barrel per day (bpd) to 1.4 million bpd, projecting total consumption at 99.2 MMbpd. Since the European Union is unlikely to follow the U.S.in re-imposing sanctions on Iran, the overall impact on the Persian Gulf state's exports will be "far more muted" than in the past, tanker tracker Petro-Logistics said in a note.

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Globally, I can tell you that oil inventory levels have declined by more 300 million barrels over the past year.

The American Petroleum Institute was said to report US crude stockpiles climbed 4.85 million barrels last week, and that inventories at the key pipeline and storage hub Cushing, Oklahoma, rose 62,000 barrels. China's refinery runs rose almost 12 percent in April from a year earlier, to around 12.1 million barrels per day, marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis, data showed.

For the fifth straight month, OPEC in March set a fresh record for complying with its agreed oil-production cuts, with the goal of re-balancing the market finally in sight.

It did not rule out price hikes, due to potential production disruptions in Iran and Venezuela.

Oil traded near $71 a barrel as rising stockpiles and signs of slower demand growth countered concerns Iranian supplies will soon be curbed by sanctions.

Rising prices, however, have another effect: They call forth efforts to find more supplies.

Oil stocks were expected to drop further as the peak summer driving season nears, offsetting increases in USA shale output, Bernstein analysts said.

Goldman Sachs, though, said even with a slowdown in demand and soaring US output, global oil markets would remain tight.

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