Oil prices rise 1 percent on tightening crude supply, upbeat economic data

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OPEC projects to tighter oil market in 2019

Venezuelan crude production has dropped below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) because of USA sanctions.

Production in Venezuela has been plunging as the United States sanctions add to a deep economic and political crisis, while the USA government is expected to tighten oil sanctions against Iran in May.

Oil prices rose 1 percent on Friday as involuntary supply cuts from Venezuela and Iran plus conflict in Libya supported perceptions of a tightening crude market, while upbeat Chinese economic data eased concerns about waning crude demand. OPEC has been saying the curbs must remain, but that stance is now softening. USA drillers added 2 rigs in the latest week, bringing the national count to 833 rigs, oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported on Friday.

They meet on June 25-26 to decide whether to extend the pact.

However, President Vladimir Putin seemingly softened that stance.

Global oil demand is estimated to average 99.91 million bpd this year, compared with 98.70 million bpd in 2018, OPEC said.

The rig count fell for the past four months as independent exploration and production companies cut spending on new drilling to focus on earnings growth instead of increased output.

The U.S.' sanctions on Iran and Venezuela caused a decline in oil production and exports of these countries.

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Venezuela pumped 960,000 bpd in March, down nearly 500,000 bpd from February, OPEC said in a report on Wednesday.

The sun sets behind an oil pump outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France March 28, 2019.

The glut of supply in the global oil market is falling after Saudi Arabia-led OPEC and Russia-led non-OPEC agreed on December 7 to trim their total output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first six months of 2019. Saudi Arabia is set on maintaining the production cuts into the second half of 2019, while Russian Federation refuses to commit to an extension.

"An increase is on the table, yes, if prices went to $80 and higher", this OPEC source said.

Saudi Arabia's crude oil production slumped to the lowest in two years as the Kingdom slashed its production by more than promised to boost prices.

Russian Federation is also ready to boost supplies.

"Russia has started talks about an oil production rise as it can hardly follow the OPEC+ deal", said another Russian energy source.

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