Oil prices rose on Wednesday on the back of an estimated increase in US gasoline inventories and the ongoing supply disruption in the US following Hurricane Ida.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $72.66 per barrel at 0716 GMT for a 0.08% increase after closing Wednesday at $72.60 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $69.36 per barrel at the same time for a 0.08% increase after it ended the previous session at $69.30 a barrel.
Late Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) announced its estimate of a fall of 6.4 million barrels in US gasoline inventories. The API also forecast that the country’s crude oil inventories would increase by 2.9 million barrels, lagging behind the market expectation of a draw of 3.9 million barrels.
The forecast of a larger inventory draw signals a recovery in crude demand in the US, easing investor concerns about declining demand, which, in turn, supports higher prices.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release official oil stock data later on Thursday. Oil prices are expected to continue rising if the EIA signals a drop in stocks.
Meanwhile, supply disruptions in the US are still ongoing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, putting upward pressure on prices.
Over four-fifths of US oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline as corporations fight to reactivate offshore rigs. Ida was said to be the most damaging storm for offshore oil and gas production in almost 16 years.
According to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, 76.9% of current oil production and 77.2% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in.
By Sibel Morrow