Oil Extends Gain Above $52 as Russia Weighs Output Cut Extension

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At the end of November, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) from January 1, initially for a period of six months.

Saudi Arabia has cut more than it pledged, which has helped compensate for less stringent compliance by other signatories to the deal. It is said to have the support of a key OPEC committee that is responsible for monitoring countries, and ensuring they are complying with an agreement to reduce oil output.

He also said the widening discount of the current Brent crude price to the contract in the next month is "basically telling you the market is not actually that tight". China and the United States are both expected see an uptick in demand this year, while the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see a decline, CNBC reported.

OPEC data showed members of the group had cut March output beyond the level they had promised.

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In a sign of OPEC confidence that the deal is working, Kuwait's oil minister said he expected producers' adherence in March to their supply cut pledges to "be higher than the previous couple of months".

Saudi Arabia is reported to have reduced its output by almost 4.5%.

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Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 533.4 million barrels as of last week, according to the press release, which the EIA considered to be "near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year".

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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 18 cents to be traded at $53.58 a barrel, which is also their highest price level since early March.

OPEC analysts said stronger seasonal demand should support crude oil heading into the summer months after prices slipped to a year-low below $50 a barrel last month, with traders concerned the group's attempts to tighten the market through a supply deal with non-members like Russian Federation were being overshadowed by the snap back of U.S. production. This means that non-OPEC oil production will soon be on the rise again.

While speculation that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies will extend their six-month pact aimed at eroding a global glut is helping boost prices, there is also concern that rising U.S. output will counter the reductions.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 885,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.Refinery crude runs rose by 268,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. In its new monthly oil report on Wednesday, OPEC pointed to an uptick in demand anticipated in 2017.

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