Data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed commercial crude inventories dropped by 1.1 million barrels in the week through April 13. In its latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said that USA shale production is expected to increase by 125,000 bpd in May over April, with the Permian production surging by 73,000 bpd, Eagle Ford's-by 24,000 bpd, and the Bakken's by 15,000 bpd.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up $1.54 at $73.12 by 11:14 a.m. EDT [1514 GMT], while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 gained $1.63 to $68.15, having hit $68.45 earlier in the session, their highest since late 2014.
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Oil had fallen earlier this week from the highest in more than three years as geopolitical risks surrounding Syria eased, with Russian President Vladimir Putin now seeking to reduce tensions with the USA, according to people familiar. The United States has started talking to North Korea directly, President Donald Trump said April 17, helping to buoy some equity markets.
"OPEC production is now lower than expected as a result of large declines in Venezuelan output caused by a deterioration in the economic situation there", he said. "As long as the geopolitical premium is here with us we should not sell off". Futures traded at $67.68. NY time. Total volume traded was about 2% above the 100-day average.
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Brent for June settlement added $1.13 to $72.71/bbl on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after touching $72.84, the highest since April 16.
The price of the North American oil benchmark closed above $68 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest level since 2014 as USA data showed inventories plunged by more than one million barrels last week. Distillate inventories are forecast to fall in the EIA report. WTI and Brent crude oil could extend their gains if the EIA report shows a decline in crude inventories rather than an increase.
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OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia would be happy for crude to rise to $80 or even $100, three industry sources said, a sign Riyadh will seek no changes to a supply-cutting deal even though the agreement's original target is within sight. The Iraqi/Kurdish oil terminal of Ceyhan, Turkey is shut-down for work, according to a port agent.