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Oil recovers some ground, rise in U.S. drilling caps gains

Oil recovers some ground, rise in U.S. drilling caps gains

"All the signs in the United States still point to oil production being expanded there", said Commerzbank in a note, adding that drilling activity has risen nearly continuously for the past 11 months. US crude production is at 9.25 million barrels per day (bpd) and up nearly 10 percent since mid-2016 and approaching that of OPEC's top exporter Saudi Arabia. In France, Macron's spot in the second election round avoids a contest between the anti-European Union Marine Le Pen and the Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon, curbing threats to the euro zone and encouraging investors to embrace more risk. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said consensus is growing among oil producers that the supply restraint pact should be prolonged.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures added 32 cents, or 0.64 percent, by 0649 GMT, but were still just below the $50 mark pierced on Friday at $49.84 a barrel, Reuters reported. Total volume traded was about 5% above the 100-day average.

"The reason that we're seeing the selloff today and really for this week has been related to the fact that we're seeing higher waterborne imports arriving from the Middle East", said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipperdata.

Brent crude futures rose 38 cents by 7:48 a.m. ET to US$52.34 per barrel. Brent traded at a premium of $2.34 to WTI.

Compliance with supply curbs by Opec and its allies from outside of the group was 98 percent in March, an improvement from February, the technical committee concluded, according to a delegate with knowledge of the matter. Diesel futures lost 0.3% to $1.5481 a gallon. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 2.1%.

Analysts at Accendo Markets said: "Crude oil prices have begun to recover from one-month lows overnight following on from a 14th consecutive weekly increase from the Baker Hughes Rig Count [on Friday], with the amount of USA rigs in operation now at two-year highs". Exxon Mobil Corporation won't be allowed to bypass USA sanctions against Russian Federation to resume drilling for oil in a joint venture that seeks to tap billions of barrels of that country's crude.

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