S. Arabia pitches for oil output freeze extension

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al Falih attends a meeting of the 4th OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee in St. Petersburg Russia

Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets at BNP Paribas, said the market was still determining the extent of the damage of Hurricane Harvey on oil refineries, while anticipating the effect of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the USA over the weekend. More recently Hurricane Irma left more than seven million homes without electricity in Florida. It gradually lost strength and weakened to a tropical storm by Monday morning as it headed towards Georgia.

Brent edged up $0.06, or 0.1%, to settle at $53.84 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

Average daily oil production by OPEC countries decreased by 79,000 barrels in August in comparison with July to 32.75 million barrels, OPEC said in its September report.

Meanwhile, the latest data is expected to show a build in U.S. commercial crude stocks - over 2 million barrels by some estimates - and a decline in gasoline inventories during the week ended September 8, continuing the pattern from the week before, when reduced refining capacity in Texas weakened domestic demand for crude and cause a draw on gasoline inventories because of lowered production.

OPEC on Tuesday forecast higher demand for its oil in 2018 and pointed to signs of a tighter global market, indicating its production-cutting deal with non-member countries is helping to tackle a supply glut that has weighed on prices.

Also ahead, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' monthly report to assess global supply and demand levels is due. But market sources in North Asia say North Korea now takes about 6 million barrels/year of Chinese crude.

OPEC said inventories were falling and that an increase premium of Brent crude for immediate delivery over that for later supplies raised hopes that a rebalancing is under way.

"By the end of this month, we expect crude stocks to be 43 million barrels higher than they would have been had Harvey and Irma not occurred", analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note. Inventories of gasoline and distillate were expected to fall 4 million barrels and 300,000 barrels, respectively.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea would regret escalating recent nuclear tensions, but added that a military option wasn't inevitable. Pipelines from Cushing run to key refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast of Mexico and the hub is an important indicator of crude demand.

Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, both members of OPEC, agreed to consider prolonging production cuts "beyond the first quarter of 2018, if needed", the Saudi ministry said in one of the statements.

In a deal aimed at clearing the glut, OPEC is curbing output by about 1.2 million bpd, while Russian Federation and other non-OPEC producers are cutting half as much, until March 2018.

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