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Occidental, Marathon Rise on View OPEC+ Won't Change Output Much

Oil prices are near a seven-year high as OPEC+ is expected to cut production by only 500,000 barrels a day.

Shares of Occidental  (OXY) - Get Occidental Petroleum Corporation Report, Marathon Oil  (MRO) - Get Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) Report, ConocoPhillips  (COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report and Schlumberger  (SLB) - Get Schlumberger NV Report rose Thursday, as oil prices hit a near-seven-year high on anticipation that OPEC+ will leave production little changed.

OPEC leaders, as well an non-member allies such as Russia, in 2016 agreed to sweeping production cuts -- when oil was trading at around $30 a barrel. 

Those cuts took millions of barrels off the market each day and this year sparked a run on prices that's coincided with the post-pandemic rebound in industrial demand.

Reports from Thursday's meeting, held virtually from its headquarters in Vienna, suggest that the so-called OPEC+ group will pare its current holdback of 5.8 million barrels a day by around 500,000 barrels a day. That's for each month between now and year's end.

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Oil shares are higher: Occidental by 3.7% at $32.43, Marathon by 1.8% at $13.86, Conoco by 3.3% at $62.92, and oil-services giant Schlumberger by 3.5% at $33.14.

U.S. crude oil recently traded at $75.13, up 2.26%. It peaked earlier Thursday at $76.22, the highest since November 2014.

While OPEC+ likely moves little on production, U.S. crude stockpiles are declining at a record pace. Energy Department data show the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's total fell 1.15 million barrels a day over the past month. 

Overall crude supplies fell by 6.72 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said, taking stocks to the lowest levels since March of last year.

Meanwhile, industrial demand is surging. European factory activity rebounded to its strongest pace on record last month and similar all-time highs are noted in surveys from the U.S. and Asia.