The prospects of growing supplies of oil on the market offset the latest OPEC chatter on rebalancing efforts to push oil prices lower in early Friday trading.
Oil drifted around in volatile trading Thursday as key economic indicators bounced off underlying questions about the gap between oil supplies and global demand. Libya and Nigeria, two struggling members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, are showing signs of recovery at a time when there are indications that global economic growth is slowing down.
The price for Brent crude oil was down 2 percent Friday to open the day at $45.64 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, was 2.3 percent below the previous close to start trading in New York at $42.89 per barrel.
The price for Brent crude oil is lower than yesterday’s open by about $1 per barrel. Crude oil prices since late 2014 were pulled lower by higher production rates from U.S. shale basins. This week, the unity government in Libya resumed control over some of its oil ports, opening the door to resume exports from the war-torn nation.
Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC’s secretary-general and former head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., met with members of the Nigerian community from Austria. In comments published Friday, he said there is “hope” for a rebalancing in the market for oil in the near future.
Renewed support for production controls surfaced in recent months as major oil states fretted over the price of crude oil. Recent supply sentiments expressed in separate reports from OPEC and the International Energy Agency this week suggest production cuts, rather than controlled supplies, may be needed for balance.
Elsewhere on the supply side, Canada, where production is rebounding from May wildfires, signed off on three new oil projects that could add up to 95,000 barrels of oil per day to current output.
Prices later today may be influenced by a report on production levels from North Dakota and weekly rig count figures from Baker Hughes. North Dakota, the No. 2 oil producer in the United States, has seen production drop off in recent months, though recent data from Baker Hughes show some confidence was returning to shale basins in the United States.