Oil prices rose on Wednesday after Iraq’s oil minister said OPEC and other crude producers were considering extending or even deepening a supply cut to curb a global glut, while a report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. inventories.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 33 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $49.81 a barrel at 0419 GMT. Brent crude futures climbed 23 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $55.37.
While options being considered by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers include an extension of cuts in output by months, it is premature to decide on what to do beyond March, when the agreement expires, Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi told an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
“That won’t be easy as the productivity of oil rigs in the U.S. is expected to rise, so they can get more oil out of the same amount of rigs.”
Meanwhile, U.S. crude stocks rose last week while gasoline and distillate stocks decreased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday.
Crude inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week to Sept. 15 to 470.3 million, compared with expectations for an increase of 3.5 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 422,000 barrels, API said.
Official figures on stockpiles and refinery runs will be released by the U.S. Department of Energy later on Wednesday.