World oil prices on the rise

WTI Crude Oil

North Dakota's booming oil business has quickly ran up against a serious shortage of housing for the thousands of workers who have poured into the state looking to cash in on the Bakken oil formation that has made North Dakota the second-largest oil-producing state after Texas.

Oil prices dipped today but stayed close to their highest in two and a half years, as data showed strong demand for crude imports in China and on increased refining activity in the U.S. that drew more crude from inventories.

This week, WTI broke through $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015, while Brent breached $67 for the first time since May 2015.

Besides the weekly drawdown, the EIA also said that US oil production dipped to 9.754 million barrels per day, down from 9.789 million bpd the previous week.

International-benchmark Brent crude oil and U.S. Front-month prices are about 12 per cent higher this year, after rising 45 per cent - the most since 2009 - in 2016.

Trading was typically thin at year end, with many traders on vacation.

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Although U.S. shale drillers are now exhibiting restraint, speculation is rising that they will put more rigs into operation next year as oil strengthens: Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy, pointed out that "With that partially offsetting production cuts by OPEC and Russian Federation, the market will have to get confirmation that global inventories will keep coming down".

In global markets, China has issued crude oil import quotas totaling 121.32 million tons for 44 companies in its first batch of allowances for 2018.

OPEC cuts kicked off last January and are scheduled to continue throughout 2018.

USA output has surged overall this year, hitting a 46-year high in October when producers pumped 9.6 million barrels a day, according to federal data.

Pipeline outages in Libya and the North Sea have also supported prices.

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