Strong Draw In Crude Inventories Lifts Oil Prices

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Oil prices were inching closer to pre-crash levels today

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and global benchmark Brent crude oil rose to their highest levels since early 2015 on Thursday, on concern that the escalation of unrest in Iran will eventually have an effect on supply and another decline in U.S. inventories as refining activity hit a 12-year high. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate gained 0.10 per cent to $60.43 per barrel, while Brent crude rose 0.03 per cent to $66.59.

Despite unrest in Iran, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' third-largest producer, the country's oil output has not been affected.

"Beyond the recent focus on street protests, the potential reinstatement of United States sanctions targeting the Iranian oil industry remains an issue", JBC analysts said.

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The oil price rally at the end of 2017 was primarily supported by multiple but temporary supply disruptions, while the latest leg up has been driven by protests across Iran, Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank, said on Tuesday. There's no doubt that the ten-dollar move... There is also concern that Russian Federation will double-cross the market and not cap its production as promised.

Oil prices rose on Thursday as official data showed US crude inventories declined last week.

Based on data from the ESDM Ministry received by Antara in Jakarta on Friday, the average ICP rose to US$60.90 per barrel in December 2017, up by $1.56 per barrel from $59.34 per barrel in the previous month. They touched $62.21 shortly before, their highest level since May 2015.

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Front-month Brent futures prices reached nearly $35 per barrel in late 2000 and more than $125 per barrel in early 2011.

For one, they noted that they had to apprise DOE officials of the presence of "dead stock" in inventories or products that can no longer be made available for sale - which is a standard experience in oil markets globally. According to the International Energy Agency, the U.S.is expected to account for more than 80% of global oil production growth in the next decade and it will produce 30% more gas than Russian Federation by that time, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Thursday morning, showing that U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 7.4 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 424.5 million barrels.

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Potentially undermining the trend towards tighter market conditions is USA oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has risen by nearly 16 percent since mid-2016, hitting 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) at the end of past year. The cartel expects that the crude market to balance this summer and run at a small deficit in the second half of 2018. A boost in exports from Iraq's south, the outlet for most of its crude, to a record 3.55 million bpd in December, offset relatively low shipments from the north, the survey found.

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