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Oil rises 2pc as U.S. inventories fall and demand picks up

  • U.S. oil and gas drillers are gearing up for a pick-up in demand. As higher prices make new wells profitable again, they added rigs for a sixth month in a row in January.
Published February 1, 2021
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NEW YORK: Oil prices rose more than 2pc on Monday, buoyed by falling U.S. crude inventories and rising winter fuel demand as a one of the worst snowstorms in years hits the U.S. Northeast.

Brent crude was up $1.22 cents, or 2.2pc, at $56.26 a barrel by 1:26 p.m. EST (1826 GMT). U.S. crude gained $1.20 cents, or 2.3pc, to $53.40. Both benchmarks gained nearly 8pc in January.

U.S. government data last week showed a 2.3 million-barrel drawdown in stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for crude futures. Another 2.3 million-barrel weekly decline is expected since then, analysts and traders said citing a Wood Mackenzie report.

"Crude is being supported by many small factors this week - expected drawdowns in Cushing, a sudden rise in winter fuel demand amid colder weather, and further talks on Capitol Hill about stimulus checks," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

The U.S. Northeast has been hit by a powerful winter snow storm, pummeling a vast swath stretching from Pennsylvania through New England, causing widespread disruption in New York City and other major urban centers in the region.

Goldman Sachs said prices could rise to $65 by July, forecasting an oil market deficit of 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2021, a higher level than its previous prediction of 500,000 bpd.

OPEC oil output rose for a seventh month in January, a Reuters survey found, after the group and its allies agreed to ease supply curbs further, although the production growth was smaller than expected.

Russian oil and gas condensate production also increased in January, two sources told Reuters on Monday, but the increase was in line with expectations, following Moscow's deal with OPEC on output cuts.

U.S. oil and gas drillers are gearing up for a pick-up in demand. As higher prices make new wells profitable again, they added rigs for a sixth month in a row in January.

U.S. production data from the Energy Information Administration showed output rose above 11 million bpd in November, the first time it has exceeded that figure since April.

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