Texas: Oil prices rose on Thursday on mounting supply tightness concerns amid disruptions to Russian exports, the potential for major producers to cut output, and the partial shutdown of a US refinery.
Brent crude rose 45 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $101.67 a barrel by 0630 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 32 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $95.21 a barrel.
Both crude oil benchmark contracts touched three-week highs on Wednesday after the Saudi energy minister flagged the possibility that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, will cut production to support prices.
“Brent crude oil prices rebounded above the $100/barrel mark following Saudi officials showing willingness to defend prices via an OPEC+ production cut if necessary,” Citi analysts said in a note.
In the US, the world’s biggest oil consumer, BP reported shutting some units at its Whiting refinery in Indiana after an electrical fire on Wednesday. The 430,000 barrel-per-day plant is a key supplier of fuels to the central US and the city of Chicago.
Falling US crude and product stockpiles also added to the upward pressure on prices. Oil inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels in the week to August 19 at 421.7 million barrels, steeper than analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 933,000-barrel drop.
The bullish impact was countered by a drawdown in gasoline inventories that was less than expected, reflecting tepid demand.
US gasoline stocks fell by 27,000 barrels in the week to 215.6 million barrels, compared with earlier expectations for a 1.5 million-barrel drop.