Another Bad Sign for OPEC and the Oil Bulls

Production cuts have failed to eliminate a global surplus so tankers full are once again being anchored offshore.
Data: Kpler; graphic by Bloomberg Businessweek

Just when it looked like the oil market might turn the corner, the warning signs appeared. First, U.S. oil companies amassed a record-large inventory of wells drilled and waiting for the moment to be completed, unleashing their torrent of crude. What's more, a turnaround in output from Nigeria and Libya left the market seeking new places to store it all. So, once again, the volume of oil held at sea in tankers is rising, yet another indicator that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ output cuts haven’t ended a global glut. This shouldn’t be the case given OPEC's actions. But the market is far from bullish, and data from cargo-tracking company Kpler SAS show the number of barrels held in ships, after falling in March and April, is back at January levels.


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