Oil prices slip as Trump calls on Opec to lower prices

On Tuesday Saudi Arabia said it was willing to see prices climb above $80 a barrel

US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 55 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $71.67 a barrel, after rising almost 2 per cent the previous session.

According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report by EIA, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), decreased 2.06 million barrels during the week ending September 14. While Brent crude for November delivery increased 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, American Petroleum Institute data showed that crude stockpiles increased last week, while those in the storage hub at Cushing in Oklahoma fell.

Capital expenditures also increased year on year in Q2-by 2 percent to US$70 billion, the EIA review of 76 USA energy companies, 13 Canadian firms, 9 European, and 9 other companies showed. The agency forecasts an average of 10.7 million barrels per day for 2018, compared with 9.4 million barrels per day a year ago, and forecasts an average of 11.5 million barrels per day in 2019.

"It's complicated. Saudi Arabia has to balance oil supply and demand, and it has to balance oil prices so they don't rise too much before the USA elections", one OPEC source told Reuters.

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Iran will veto any OPEC decision that harms its interests and warned that some oil producers are trying to create an alternative suppliers' forum that supports US policies hostile to the government in Tehran, Vestnik Kavkaza reports citing the Islamic Republic's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

The Oklahoman's energy writer, Adam Wilmoth, wrote that even with the EIA's caution, its report "highlights the rapid increase in USA production over the past few years and notes that domestic production likely will continue to grow ..." On Wednesday, WTI climbed back above $70 a barrel. Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.70 million barrels per day, 6.9 percent higher than the same four-week period previous year. Exports of refined products rose by 363,000 barrels a day last week to 5.22 million barrels a day.

OPEC's latest monthly report estimated a decline of 235,000 b/d in Iran's oil production in August, compared to May.

The current price action confirms the notion that the crude oil market is "fragile" and highly sensitive to the upside on any news that even hints at lower supply.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded up about 0.9% to $84.35, in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30. As of last night's close, Chevron shares are trading up about 2.8% over the past year. The United States relies on those tankers for its oil imports.

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