Minister: Iraq to boost crude oil production by year's end

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"U.S. product stocks need to be watched closely, since they have fallen massively over the last few weeks", said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Libya's Sharara oil field, the country's largest, resumed production on Sunday after a week-long disruption.

Oil's rally above US$50 (RM221.53) a barrel is running out of steam after Libyan production returns, bringing the focus back to Opec.

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil, were at $54.40 per barrel at 0345 GMT, up 23 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close, according to Reuters.

USA crude stocks decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week, though US stocks still remain near an all-time high, with 533.7 million barrels stockpiled, according to the American Petroleum Institute. He admits "Today's oil price is the new normal".

Global stockpiles for crude oil are starting to see declines, a sure sign that mutual production costs put in place this year are starting to balance out the market. US crude was up 56 cents at $51.59.

Fake Explosive Grounds Flight in Toronto
The passenger, however, said that it is "nerve-racking" to know that the plane has been held up for a security-related issue. But after several hours of sitting on the tarmac the pilot announced the delay was because of "a major security breach".

An output cut from January 1 led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has helped Brent recover from a 12-year low near $27 last year, although rising USA output and stubbornly high stocks have limited the rally.

OPEC ministers will meet in May to decide whether or not to extend the oil supply curbs beyond June. The move higher came after the global benchmark broke above its 100-day moving average, a key resistance level, putting the contract into technically overbought territory for the first time since the end of December.

Among the plans to increase output capacity from existing fields is a sea water injection plan which is in process of being tendered, he added. At the start of the month, the US crude oil demand rallied to 179,000 barrels per day.

Oil prices rebounded after a choppy start Tuesday, rising on expectations weekly USA crude-inventories data would show a decline as refineries work to keep up with rising gasoline demand.

Meanwhile, US drillers last week added rigs for an 11th week in a row, data from energy services company Baker Hughes showed on Friday, extending a 10-month drilling recovery.

Traders also said that prices gained amid slowly tightening market conditions, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) leading an effort to cut output.