Oil prices increased on Thursday over the European Commission's (EC) proposal to ban Russian oil by the year end, although the more-than-expected rise in US crude stocks limited gains.
International benchmark Brent crude cost $111.16 per barrel at 0540 GMT for a 0.92% increase after closing the previous session at $110.14 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $108.47 per barrel at the same time for a 0.61% rise after the previous session closed at $107.81 a barrel.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the EC proposal of 'a complete import ban on all Russian oil seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined,' during the European Parliament's plenary session in France on Wednesday.
After adoption, the ban on Russian crude oil would enter into force six months later and prohibit refined oil products by the end of the year.
The sanctions will 'maximize the pressure on Russia' and the delay would give a chance for the bloc to 'minimize the collateral damage,' von der Leyen said.
The EU imported about 30% of Russian crude oil last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Within the European Union, Germany bought the most with purchases of 555,000 barrels per day in 2021, according to the IEA.
Meanwhile, the increase in the US commercial crude oil inventories last week contained the upward price trajectory, fueling demand concerns.
Stocks increased 0.3% during the week ending April 29, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. Inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels to 415.7 million barrels, against the market expectation of a decrease of 1.16 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories, however, fell by 2.2 million barrels to 228.6 million barrels over the same period.
Investors are now monitoring the upcoming meeting of major oil producers of the OPEC+ group on Thursday, of which Russia is a member. The group is expected to extend its 400,000 barrel-per-day production scheme into June.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu