OIL PRICES: ABOVE $56 NOW
REUTERS - Oil prices rose on Thursday, supported by an unexpected draw in U.S. gasoline inventories, although bloated crude supplies meant that fuel markets remain under pressure.
Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents a barrel at $55.62 per barrel by 1130 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $52.84 a barrel.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday gasoline inventories USOILG=ECI fell by 869,000 barrels last week to 256.2 million barrels, versus analyst expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel gain.
The fall in gasoline stocks suggested U.S. consumption was stronger than expected, and may be healthy enough to support prices at time when most fuel oil markets are very well stocked.
"U.S. gasoline draws are supporting prices today," said Tamas Varga, senior analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates. "They are an indication of stronger U.S. demand."
The EIA report also said that U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 13.8 million barrels to 508.6 million barrels.
U.S. bank Goldman Sachs said high fuel inventories and rising U.S. crude production meant oil markets would be over-supplied for some time, but that they would drain gradually.
"We do not view the recent excess U.S. builds as derailing our forecast for a gradual draw in inventories, with in fact the rest of the world already showing signs of tightness," the bank said in a note to clients.
"The draws that we expect will start from a high base," the bank said. "U.S. production has also rebounded ... and we view the faster shale rebound as creating downside risk to our 2018 WTI price forecast of $55 per barrel, but not to our expectation that the global oil market will shift into deficit in 1H17."
High oil inventories have been undermining efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia to tighten the market by cutting production.
OPEC and other big exporters have agreed to trim output by almost 1.8 million bpd during the first half of this year in order to prop up prices and rebalance the market.
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PLATTS - For full-year 2017, South Korea's crude imports from its biggest supplier Saudi Arabia fell 1.7% to 319.02 million barrels, compared with 324.45 million barrels in the previous year, customs data showed. On the contrary, South Korea has imported 1.77 million mt, or around 13 million barrels, of crude from the US in 2017, about four times higher than in 2016. Shipments from Russia grew to 140,000 b/d last year from 112,000 b/d in 2016.
AOG - ADNOC’s 2030 strategy, he said, aims to capitalise on predicted global economic growth and demand for oil and petrochemical products, particularly in non-OECD countries. As its business responds to changing market dynamics, the company will continue to broaden its partnership base, strengthen its profitability, adapt to new realities and expand market access.
WNN - Under the terms of the assignment and purchase agreement it has signed with Nucleus and Brookfield, Toshiba will sell its rights to assert claims against Westinghouse related to the parent guarantees in the amount of $5.788 billion, and on account of other claims Toshiba holds against Westinghouse in the amount of $2.284 billion to Nucleus, for the sale price of $2.160 billion.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.23 a barrel at 0808 GMT, up 8 cents from their last close, but down from a high of $69.37 earlier in the day. Brent on Monday rose to $70.37 a barrel, its highest since December 2014, the start of a three-year oil price slump. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.84 a barrel, down from a high of $63.89 earlier, but up 11 cents from their last settlement. WTI hit $64.89 on Tuesday, also the highest since December 2014.