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NEW YORK, July 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Oil slipped in New York, approaching its lowest level in almost a month, after a surprise increase in US crude inventories further allayed concerns of a looming supply crunch.

Futures in New York dropped as much as 1 per cent. The American Petroleum Institute was said to report stockpiles rose 629,000 barrels last week, whereas government data due later Wednesday is forecast to show a drop of 4.1 million barrels.

Increased output from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia has also given the market relief from fears of losses in Venezuela, Iran and elsewhere.

Crude has retreated about 9 per cent in July as an escalating trade conflict between the US and China threatens to derail economic growth and cut demand.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said price volatility has been fueled by a potential release of crude from America’s emergency stockpile, signs that Saudi Arabia is pumping more and uncertainty over the timing of a possible decline in Iranian exports.

Price moves Wednesday will be determined by the stockpile data from the Energy Information Administration, ING Bank NV said.

“The focus of the market has shifted to the bearish side,” said Eugen Weinberg, an analyst at Commerzbank AG. “Right now the market is in search of more negative things for oil and they might be finding them in inventories as well as production data in the U.S.”

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery dropped as much as 71 cents to $67.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $67.60 as of 8:39 a.m. local time. Total volume traded was about 47 per cent below the 100-day average.

Brent for September settlement fell as much as 93 cents to $71.23 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded at a $4.88 premium to WTI for the same month. The global benchmark rose 32 cents to $72.16 on Tuesday.

CAIRO, July 18 ,2018 (MENA) - The Petroleum Ministry announced Wednesday that a new agreement to drill seven oil wells in the East Bahariya concession in the Western Desert was signed, with 9-million-dollar investments and a signature grant worth 30 million dollars.

The agreement was signed by Chairman of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) Abed Ezz el Regal and Apache Egypt Regional Vice President and General Manager David Chi.

Nearly 87 new oil and gas exploration agreements have been signed since 2014, the ministry said in a press release.

In a statement on Wednesday, Petroleum Minister Tareq el Molla said that the petroleum sector is currently finalizing the procedures of signing 14 new agreements.

The new agreements will lure more FDIs to Egypt, he said, stressing that there are still promising investment opportunities in the country.

LONDON, July 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Global benchmark Brent crude oil hit a three-month low on Tuesday as worries over supply disruptions eased and the focus moved to increasing production and potential damage to global growth from the US-China trade dispute.

Benchmark Brent crude oil fell 49 cents to an intraday low of $71.35 a barrel, its lowest since April 17, before recovering to around $71.65, down 19 cents, by 10:20 GMT. Brent fell 4.6 percent on Monday.

US light crude was down 15 cents at $67.91 a barrel. It lost 4.2 per cent on Monday.

"The perception in the oil market seems to be shifting," Carsten Menke, commodity research analyst at Swiss private bank Julius Baer, said.

"Fears of shortages, which pushed prices as high as $80 per barrel in early summer, are receding and concerns about looming surpluses growing."

Oil prices have fallen by almost 10 per cent over the last week as crude export terminals in Libya have reopened and exports from other OPEC countries and Russia have improved.

Production from seven major US shale oil formations is expected to rise by 143,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a record 7.47 million bpd in August, the US Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

Output is expected to rise in all seven formations. All shale regions except for Appalachia are at a high.

Also undermining prices is concern the growing trade war between the United States and other major trading blocs, particularly, China, could dampen economic activity and hence squeeze oil demand.

China this week reported slightly slower growth for the second quarter and the weakest expansion in factory activity in June in two years, suggesting a further softening in business conditions in coming months as trade pressures build.

Beijing's state planning agency said it was still confident of hitting its economic growth target of around 6.5 per cent this year, despite views that it faces a bumpy second-half as the trade row with Washington intensifies.

Goldman Sachs said it expects price volatility in to remain elevated, keeping Brent in a $70-$80 per barrel range in the short term.

"Supply shifts, alongside the ongoing surge in Saudi production, create the risk that the oil market moves into surplus" in the third quarter, the report said.


CAIRO, July 15, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el Mulla said Sunday that turning Egypt into a regional hub for handling and trading in gas and petroleum is one of the key programmes of the oil sector's renovation plan under the sustainable development strategy Egypt Vision 2030.

During a meeting with the working team of the plan's 6th programme, the minister said serious steps have been taken on the ground as part of the ongoing plan of action, adding that the project will have a large impact on the national economy and contribute to securing the local market needs of energy, foreign currency and new jobs.

According to a statement released by the ministry, the meeting covered the steps so far taken since the strategy was outlined in early 2017 to date. Two stages of the three-stage plan have been accomplished, the statement pointed out.

OSLO, July 14, 2018 - Norway’s ship-owners and two oil unions said on Saturday they planned no compromise talks to end a five-day strike over wages and pension benefits before a planned escalation of the stoppage from Monday.

Hundreds of workers on Norwegian offshore oil and gas rigs went on strike on Tuesday after rejecting a proposed wage deal, closing Shell’s Knarr field, which produces 23,900 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

One of the unions, Safe, plans to escalate actions from Monday (Sunday 22:00 GMT) and send 901 more workers on strike. The stoppage will have no immediate extra impact on oil and gas output.

The Norwegian Ship-owners’ Association said it planned no contact to resolve the strike before the deadline and was considering countermeasures instead.

“A middle way is not a solution. Our position is unchanged. I don’t think that there will be any contact during the weekend,” the Ship-owners’ Association chief negotiator Jakob Korsgaard told Reuters.

Chief executive John Lechner of Archer, from which more than 100 workers plan to strike, hitting drilling operations and possibly future output from Aker BP’s wells in Valhall field, also said he did not know of any efforts to resolve the standoff.

BENGHAZI, Libya, July 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Production at Libya's giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.

The attack happened at a control station on the outskirts of Sharara, about 40 km (25 miles) from the main part of the field, engineers at the field said. One of the abducted workers was Romanian, they said.

NOC said it expected output to drop by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd), although one engineer said output at the field, which had been producing 200,000-300,000 bpd recently, had already dropped to below 100,000 bpd.

Tripoli-based NOC operates Sharara in partnership with Repsol, Total, OMV and Equinor , formerly known as Statoil.

The field, in Libya's remote southwest, has suffered security problems in the past, including raids in which vehicles and mobile phones have been stolen.


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