Crude oil futures rose slightly Wednesday as worries that rising tensions in the Middle East could impact global supplies overshadowed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories, Kallanish Energy reports.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled 24 cents higher, at $62.02 per barrel. Brent crude futures rose 53 cents, to $71.77/Bbl.
U.S. crude stocks rose unexpectedly last week to their highest amount in more than 19 months, while gasoline inventories dropped more than forecast, the Energy Information Administration reported.
Crude stocks jumped by 5.4 million barrels; analysts had expected a decrease of 800,000 Bbls.
Oil prices have garnered support since Saudi Arabia said Tuesday armed drones struck two oil pumping stations, two days after the sabotage of oil tankers offshore the United Arab Emirates.
The attacks took place against a backdrop of U.S.-Iranian tension. Washington has been trying to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero with sanctions, while increasing the U.S. military presence in the Gulf of Suez.
Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency American employees from its diplomatic missions in Iraq Wednesday in a show of concern about threats from Iran-backed forces.
Weak economic data from the U.S. and China capped prices by fueling worries that global crude demand could slow.
The International Energy Agency revised downward its forecast for 2019 global oil demand by 90,000 Bpd, to 1.3 million Bpd (Mmbpd).
The energy watchdog also said the world would require very little extra oil from Opec this year as booming U.S. output will offset falling exports from Iran and Venezuela due to U.S. sanctions.
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