Global oil prices have increased for the third consecutive day in the wake of a dip in US crude inventories and strong US gasoline demand.

International benchmark Brent crude rose 26 cents, or 0.3%, to trade at $79.66, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude soared 60 cents, or 0.8%, to reach $71.72, Reuters reported.

Global oil prices were also up due to supply concerns, as signs indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may not raise production to offset declining supplies from Iran.

For the week ending 14 September, US crude oil stockpiles declined by 2.1 million barrels, reaching their lowest levels in three and a half years, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The fall in crude inventories represents the fifth consecutive week of declines. Strong demand also saw a larger-than-expected draw in gasoline inventories.

"The bulls are back in charge, even more so after traders were conveying a high degree of resistance to the unexpected build on the American Petroleum Institute (API) survey."

Oanda Asia-Pacific trading head Stephen Innes was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The bulls are back in charge, even more so after traders were conveying a high degree of resistance to the unexpected build on the American Petroleum Institute (API) survey.”

In its survey, the API indicated that US stocks increased by 1.2 million barrels last week.

Meanwhile, many countries have reduced Iranian crude imports ahead of the US sanctions set to come into force in November. However, there is no clarity on how supply losses due to the sanctions would be compensated.

At a meeting scheduled to take place in Algeria on 23 September, representatives from OPEC and other producers including Russia will discuss on how to allocate supply increases to make up for the loss of Iranian supply.

Citing OPEC Sources, Reuters reported that there is no immediate action plan in place.