Commodity market report

North America crude markets short-term outlook March 2017

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Report summary

Brent was stable over the past month, supported by strong adherence to the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement. Uncertainty remains, however, over whether or not production cuts will be extended in May. Brent-WTI has been seasonably wide as US crude oil stocks have grown, but higher refinery crude runs on the back of maintenance season could begin to shift differentials. 340 kbd of Permian pipeline expansions have been announced over the past two months and a new 440 kbd pipeline from the Permian to Corpus Christi was proposed just last week. But, given that production growth is expected to top 1 million b/d by 2020, will there be enough pipe to prevent a "Permian blowout?" A "perfect storm" of factors aligned to boost US crude exports to new highs in February. However, rising crude runs in the US and declining runs in Asia could prove this level of exports to be a short-lived phenomenon.

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