Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate oil prices are rising

Miranda GreerMar 31, 2017

Gasoline stocks fell by 3.7 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.9 million barrels drop.

US crude futures rose 1.5% to $49.09/bbl.

The latest is that the oil sheiks are looking to extend that agreement despite a loss of market share as US producers ramp up in response to the recent recovery in oil prices.

"The WTI crude bulls are emboldened by the double whammy of another large increase in refinery utilization rates and a big jump in crude oil export levels", said David Thompson, executive vice-president at Powerhouse, a commodities-focused broker in Washington.

USA crude oil inventories remain in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, according to the EIA.

"That (Libya), along with the Iranian oil minister saying there is likely to be an extension to the production cut deal, helped crude oil rally overnight", Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader, said.

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 , the worldwide benchmark for oil, were at $52.53 per barrel at 0445 GMT, up 11 cents from their last close.

Oil prices settled higher Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate crude finishing at its highest level in more than three weeks.

This significant reduction in Libyan oil output along with the ongoing output-cut by OPEC countries tightened global oil supply and improved its prices.

The US had in December 2015 removed the 40-year-old restrictions on its crude exports following the rapid growth of its oil production from 2013 to 2015.

The impact of this production curb was largely ineffective due to rising United States production during the same time. Six OPpec nations have joined with non-member Oman to voice support for prolonging their cuts past June.

"The global oil market is now in deficit because of production curbs by OPEC and Russian Federation", said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich.

But the news follow reports last week that Libya planned to raise its output to 800,000 barrels a day by April, from current production of 700,000 barrels a day.

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