Crude Oil Firms Above $50

Global oil prices slip, but remain near recent highs

Commercial crude inventories rose to 472.8 million barrels, up from 457.8 million barrels the week before Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast and knocked out more than a dozen major refineries, the Energy Department reported Wednesday. Propane stocks decreased by 1.4 million barrels.

Futures climbed as much as 1.3 percent in NY after declining 0.9 percent Tuesday.

Some cartel members-including less compliant nations like Iraq-have indicated in recent weeks that they would be open to extending the production cuts after the deal expires early next year, but analysts and investors don't expect a final decision until OPEC's next official gathering in November. As a result, there was less demand for oil from refineries and more demand for gasoline sitting in storage while less gasoline was being produced That's partly why gasoline prices spiked by almost 20 percent.

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Prices were supported after the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday that USA crude stocks rose last week, while gasoline and distillate stocks decreased. Total volume traded was about 39 percent below the 100-day average.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russian Federation have agreed to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until March to reduce global oil inventories and support prices.

Nov. WTI added 79 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $50.69/bbl.

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Elsewhere, Brent oil for November delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was up 66 cents or about 1.20% at $55.80 a barrel, not far from last Thursday's five-month high of $55.98.

This was despite Iraq's oil minister saying earlier today that his country's oil production was now at 4.32 million barrels per day (bpd), down from nearly 4.5 million bpd in May and June, Reuters noted, and other data showing that Saudi Arabia's crude exports fell to 6.693 million bpd in July, down from 6.889 million bpd in June. That compares with a draw of 2.13 million barrels for gasoline and 1.95 million for distillates, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Global crude oil prices slipped slightly Monday but stayed close to multimonth highs as traders braced for a potential stockpile build, expected later this week.

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