All eyes on OPEC as Trump gripes over prices

Futures in New York dropped as much as 1.3% after the American Petroleum Institute was said to report nationwide crude inventories rose last week

Nigeria suffered the biggest decline in crude oil production in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month as its output fell by 114,500 barrels per day.

OPEC is a group of 14 nations that seeks to coordinate oil production and greatly influence oil prices.

He last raised the issue in April. "Oil prices are artificially Very High!"

"I think we will see OPEC-plus agree to increase output at the meeting", said Warren Patterson, a commodities strategist at ING Bank NV in Amsterdam, who anticipated OPEC would launch its "exit strategy" before it was signaled by Saudi Arabia last month.

US President Donald Trump renewed his attack on OPEC on Wednesday, and the International Energy Agency said the world may face a supply gap by late 2019 if OPEC can not cover any shortfalls. "Not good!" USA president Donald Trump tweeted.

After peaking in May at $80.50 a barrel, prices have pulled back, with the price of Brent crude trading on Wednesday near $76 at barrel, partly in anticipation that the deal may end, and as Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation have already started increasing production.

At 1030 GMT, the August ICE Brent crude futures contract was down 31 cents/b from Wednesday's settle, at $76.43/b, while the NYMEX July sweet light crude contract was up 16 cents at $66.80/b.

But the Paris-based IEA, echoing statements from oil producers as well as analyst comment in recent weeks, said there may be a change to the so-called Vienna agreement.

Both nations have proposed plans for the so-called OPEC+ group to add as much as one million barrels a day, about 1 per cent of global output, although Riyadh prefers a smaller increase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The idea of forming an oil bloc to counter OPEC's hegemony was mooted by Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan during the International Energy Forum meeting in April in New Delhi.

The IEA meanwhile revised upwards its estimate for 2018 non-OPEC growth to 2 mb/d, and to 1.7 mb/d in 2019.

The country boosted production after the US lifted sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program in 2016, but analysts expect output to fall when the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the deal takes full effect later this year. Moscow will also support extending the OPEC/non-OPEC alliance into next year-with or without new production levels, depending on the oil market conditions, according to Bloomberg's source.

OPEC itself spotlighted United States output in its own monthly report on Tuesday, citing the growth of non-OPEC supply as one of several question marks hanging over the situation.

However, it cautioned that there are possible downside risks to the demand outlook, including "the possibility of higher prices, a weakening of economic confidence, trade protectionism and a potential further strengthening of the USA dollar".

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