Oil markets: U.S. crude stockpiles

South Belridge Oil Field is the fourth-largest oil field in California and one of the most productive in the U.S.

David McNew | Getty Images

Crude oil futures rose on Wednesday after a more-than-expected draw in U.S. crude stockpiles and as solid U.S. factory data raised optimism of a post-pandemic economic recovery, boosting risk appetite among investors.

Brent crude futures were up 33 cents at $45.91 a barrel as of 0034 GMT, extending gains into a third day.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 33 cents to $43.09, following the previous day’s gain by 15 cents.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 6.4 million barrels in the week to Aug. 28 to about 501.2 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a draw of 1.9 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks also fell by 5.8 million barrels, more than analysts’ estimates of a draw of 3.0 million barrels.

Analysts had forecast a sixth weekly drawdown in U.S. crude inventories in a Reuters poll.

“Positive tone was also set on hopes for a swift economic recovery following a healthy U.S. economic data, which raised investors’ risk appetite and propelled U.S. stock market and oil prices,” Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co, said.

“Also, slower-than-expected resumption of oil output in the United States after Hurricane Laura raised concerns over tighter supply,” he said.

U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated to a more than 1-1/2-year high in August amid a surge in new orders, lending support to Wall Street and oil markets.

U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore oil output on Tuesday was down by 525,099 barrels per day, or 28.4% of the region’s daily production, the U.S. Department of Interior reported, as energy companies restarted more activity in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

Still, 71 of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s 643 manned platforms remained evacuated, down from 117 production platforms on Monday, the regulator said.

On the global supply side, oil output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rose by about 1 million barrels per day in August, a Reuters survey found.

From May 1, OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, made a record cut of 9.7 million bpd, or 10% of global output, after the virus destroyed a third of world demand. From August 1, the cut tapered to 7.7 million bpd until December.

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