USA UNLEASHED: America Now 'Pumping More Oil' than Saudi Arabia, Russia

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As of September, Iranian crude oil accounted for 5 percent of Japan's crude oil intake, and, as the head of the Petroleum Association of Japan, Takashi Tsukioka, commented in September, Tokyo will try to maintain a good relationship with Tehran despite the sanctions, according to a report by Reuters.

WTI Crude prices slipped on Thursday by more than 20 percent from the four-year high hit just last month, entering bear market territory, as oil production in the United States continues to grow, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia put a lot more oil on the market, while the global economy and oil demand growth are starting to show signs of slowdown.

Yet big things are happening on the other side of the supply equation too, meaning the risk of scarcity may not last.

WTI Crude prices could drop into the $40s, with the US oil benchmark in a "ferocious" bear market, analyst and CNBC host Jim Cramer said on Thursday. "Everything points to a fairly weak balance: the world economy is decelerating, the China trade tensions are having a visible impact on demand". That meeting is billed for December 6 and Dec 7 in Vienna. Still, it could give a strong signal of what's to come. USA sanctions could end up squeezing Iranian output so much that other producers won't need to cut.

Shale has plenty of potential to surprise. In August, a surprise surge in output meant the country briefly overtook Russian Federation as the world's biggest crude producer, with output of 11.3 million barrels a day.

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. oil production will be higher this year and in 2019 than previously forecasted.

Then there are political considerations.

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, continuing a recent slide after surging USA crude output hit another record and domestic inventories rose more than expected. While there has been talk in the market that the group should consider renewed output cuts, Russian Federation now isn't ready for such a decision, the official said.

"The market is now going to look to Opec and non-Opec producers to rein in production as the USA has granted eight countries waivers from sanction, which in essence adds to supply", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. Others may have grown tired of having their production policy steered by the kingdom.

"OPEC and Russian Federation may use (production) cuts to support $70 per barrel", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. "They have over-balanced the market", and have no choice but to cut by about 1 million barrels a day, he said.

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