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Crude oil prices are flat today - both WTI and Brent are now trading sideways.

The statistical arm of the US Energy Department, the Energy Information Administration, made this known on Wednesday, revealing that the crude oil exports rose by 582,000 barrels per day last week to an all-time record high of 2.331 million barrels per day. "In addition, the risk to this scenario is on the upside for the short term if new sanctions are imposed on Iran", leading up to the May 12 OPEC meeting.

Brent, against which Nigeria's oil is priced, stood at $73.87 per barrel as of 8:05pm Nigerian time on Wednesday, while the WTI traded around $67.90 per barrel.

Also, this is expected to fall 1.796 million bpd by June when compared with 1.895 million bpd in May's revised export programme, the report said.

Following his visit to Washington, French President Emanuel Macron appeared to have little hope of persuading US President Donald Trump to remain in a nuclear deal with Iran, meaning more sanctions against the Middle Eastern country could be imminent.

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Venezuela's crude production has fallen from nearly 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2016 to around 1.5 million bpd due to a political and economic crisis. "Yet the possibility that the USA will not pull out of the deal reduced the risk premium for oil causing a sell off along with a sudden spooked United States stock market".

Figures from Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) show Iran produces 3.8 million barrels of oil per day, deeming it the third largest producer of the 14 member organisation after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Flynn said, though, that the growing global economy is driving global oil demand. Chief Financial Officer Brad Halverson said, however, that first-quarter adjusted profit per share "will be the high watermark for the year". Official data from the US EIA will be released later today.

A pact forged by Opec and non-Opec producers such as Russian Federation, the largest producer outside the group, has lowered global inventories of crude, reversing a three-year price slump that saw prices fall as low as $29 a barrel in 2016.

Crude imports climbed 539,000 b/d last week to 8.469 million b/d, while refinery utilization rates averaged 90.8% for the week ending April 20, down 1.6%.