Oil prices have slightly increased following expectations of a possible decline in US crude stockpiles and the ongoing outage of the Forties pipeline system in the North Sea.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped 16 cents, or 0.3%, trading at $57.72 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose by 14 cents, or 0.2%, trading at $63.94 a barrel, according to Reuters.
ANZ bank was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Oil prices inched higher on expectations of another strong drawdown in US inventories.”
According to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), US crude inventories decreased by 5.2 million barrels in the week to 15 December to 438.7 million.
The market is awaiting official US Government data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The outage of the North Sea pipeline that delivers crude for Brent futures is expected to continue for two to four weeks. Operator Ineos expects to be able to fix the previously identified crack in the pipeline during the downtime period.
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Despite these factors, Brent oil price has not reached its recent high of $65.63 per barrel.
Traders suggested that oil prices were being capped by rising US crude production, which registered a 16% growth since mid-2016 to 9.8 million bpd.
Based on government data, it is expected that US production will further increase next year to more than ten million bpd.