Oil climbs towards $75 a barrel to reach highest point since 2014

Saudi Arabia Looking for Crude Oil at $100 bbl

LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Thursday to their highest since late 2014 as us crude inventories declined, moving closer to five-year averages, and after sources told Reuters top exporter Saudi Arabia is seeking to push oil prices higher. As a result, the International Energy Agency last week suggested OPEC and its partners could declare "mission accomplished". Analysts including investment bank JP Morgan had predicted that oil prices could rise as high as $80 per barrel this year.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that top oil exporter Saudi Arabia would be happy to see crude rise to $80 or even $100 a barrel, which was seen as a sign that Riyadh will seek no changes to an OPEC supply-cutting deal that was introduced in 2017 to boost prices. Aluminum prices reached their highest since 2011, alumina touched an all-time peak and nickel jumped the most in 6-1/2 years. "The market still needs support".

The deal, which runs through the end of this year, has almost shrunk global oil stockpiles to their five-year average.

Still, the cartel and Kremlin want to drive prices even higher and offset the United States shale oil boom, so they are likely to extend the supply quota plan beyond this year.

Few OPEC sources call for an exit strategy.

OPEC wants to lure more producers to join the output-reduction deal, U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

"They are willingly over-tightening this market", Jan Stuart, an oil economist at New York-based consultant Cornerstone Macro, told Bloomberg. "If the idea is to get a ton of money in the door now, then they're probably doing the right thing", Stuart said.

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With crude oil prices surging higher and hitting a more than 3-year high, shares of oil marketing companies are down sharply on the Indian bourses today.

"Would they declare victory now and stop?"

Global resource stocks were the winners from Thursday's higher in prices.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the US will overtake Russian Federation to become the world's largest oil producer by 2023.

After losses for a number of years, US oil producers may finally be able to reward their shareholders with positive returns as the country emerges victorious from a market share battle that the Middle East thought it would win.

It looks like OPEC and Russian Federation are deliberately overtightening the oil market and won't call the end of the cuts yet, aiming at higher oil prices and shrugging off (at least in the short term) the potential threats to the oil market balance-a shale surge and possible slower demand growth.

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