| SINGAPORE, April 7
SINGAPORE, April 7 Oil prices dipped on Friday
as ongoing concerns about oversupply outweighed an OPEC-led
production cut and strong refinery activity.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for
oil, were at $54.85 per barrel at 0109 GMT, down 4 cents from
their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were
down 1 cent at $51.69 a barrel.
Traders said that despite a recent uptick in sentiment,
which this week helped prices reach a one-month high, there was
still concern that markets remained oversupplied, even with
efforts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) to cut supplies to prop up prices.
Oil trading data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that
globally shipped crude volumes stood at 1.4 billion barrels in
March (around 45.6 million bpd), up from 1.1 billion barrels in
February, although on a daily basis the figure was similar to
February's 45.5 million bpd due to that month's fewer days.
Both figures, however, were higher than at any time during
the second half of 2016, before the OPEC-led cuts were
implemented, implying either poor compliance with the supply
reductions, or plentiful alternative supplies.
Despite this, there were factors supporting prices,
especially strong demand from refineries, and a supply
disruption in Canada.
"Utilisation rates at refineries jumped 1.9 percent to 90.8
percent (in the U.S.), which should result in a drawdown in U.S.
crude oil in coming weeks," ANZ bank said on Friday.
"A disruption at a Canadian oil sands operation is also
raising concerns of tightness in heavy Alberta oil. A fire at
Syncrude Canada's a 350,000 barrels per day plant could be
offline for weeks," it added.
The disruption stemmed from the shutdown of the Syncrude
plant after a fire in March damaged the facility and forced the
operator to bring forward planned maintenance.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)