Crude Oil Prices Settle Higher as Iraq Warns Against Lifting Output Curbs

Jun 11, 2018 – WTI crude oil prices settled higher Monday as Iraq's oil minister warned producers against easing limits on production curbs offsetting reports of an uptick in Russian and Saudi output.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for July delivery rose 36 cents to settle at $66.10 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 2 cents to trade at $76.48 barrel.

Iraq's oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, warned producers Monday against pumping more oil, claiming oil prices still needed support.

That helped oil prices bounce from weakness earlier in the session following reports Russia and Saudi Arabia had increased output.

Russian oil production reportedly rose by 150,000 barrels per day in the first week of June to 11.1 million barrels by day. That was above the country’s quota agreed in OPEC-led production agreement.

The 1.8 million barrel a day production-cut agreement, first agreed in November 2016, between OPEC and non-OPEC members has rid the market of excess crude supplies, underpinning a move higher in oil prices.

At OPEC's next meeting due June 22, the OPEC-led deal is expected to come under review.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, increased production by more than 100,000 barrels a day in recent weeks, the WSJ reported Friday. That saw Saudi output inched higher to about 10 million barrels a day.

Reports of rising Russian and Saudi output emerges amid signs of an ongoing ramp up in U.S. output, raising fears of a slowdown in the rebalancing of oil markets.

The number of oil rigs operating in the US increased by 1 to 862, its highest level since March 13, 2015, according to data from energy services firm Baker Hughes.

The positive start to week for crude prices comes just days after data showed traders continued to slash their bets on further upside in oil prices.

CFTC COT data data released Friday showed speculative net long positions in WTI crude oil fell to 352,140 from 370,980 in the prior week.