20th December, 2017
Oil prices inched up on Wednesday supported by expectations of a fall in U.S. crude inventories and by the ongoing outage of the North Sea Forties pipeline system.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 57.71 dollars a barrel at 0100 GMT, up 15 cents from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at 63.86 dollars a barrel, up 6 cents.
“Oil prices inched higher on expectations of another strong drawdown in U.S. inventories,” ANZ bank said on Wednesday.
The American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 15 to 438.7 million.
Official U.S. government data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due on Wednesday.
Oil prices have also been supported by the continuing outage of the Forties pipeline in the North Sea which delivers crude underpinning Brent futures.
Operator Ineos hopes to be able to fix a crack in the pipeline, which can pump around 450,000 barrels per day of crude, within two to four weeks from Dec. 11.