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Oil edges up on OPEC cuts, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran

Thursday,   07-Mar-2019   08:58 AM (IST)

Oil edged up on Thursday amid ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against exporters Venezuela and Iran, although prices were prevented from rising further by record U.S. crude output and rising commercial fuel inventories. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $56.45 per barrel at 0234 GMT, up 23 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last settlement. Brent crude futures were at $66.36 per barrel, up 37 cents, or 0.6 percent. Prices are being supported by efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other countries - a grouping known as 'OPEC+' - to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), a strategy designed to tighten markets. U.S. sanctions against the oil industries of OPEC members Iran and Venezuela have also had an impact, traders said. Venezuela's state-run oil firm PDVSA this week declared a maritime emergency, citing trouble accessing tankers and personnel to export its oil amid the sanctions. Despite these factors, oil remains in plentiful supply thanks to surging U.S. production. U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose much more than expected last week, with inventories up by 7.1 million barrels to 452.93 million barrels, according to a weekly report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. Meanwhile U.S. crude oil production remained at a record 12.1 million bpd, an increase of more than 2 million bpd since early 2018.