OIL PRICES: ABOVE $68
Brent crude futures were at $68.78 at 0128 GMT, down 53 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last close. On Monday, they hit their highest since December, 2014 at $70.37 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.36 a barrel, down 59 cents, or 0.9 percent, from their last settlement. WTI marked a December-2014 peak of $64.89 a barrel on Tuesday.
Traders said the lower prices were prompted by a recovery in U.S. oil production after a recent drop, as well as by an expected fall in demand when winter ends in the northern hemisphere.
U.S. crude oil production stood at 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) on Jan. 12, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.
Output had fallen to 9.49 million barrels at the start of the year, due largely to a cold snap that shut down some production.
Most analysts expect U.S. output to break through 10 million barrels per day soon.
Analysts also pointed to excessive long positions in financial oil markets as a likely brake on any upward momentum in prices, with many traders soon likely to cash in on recent price rises, which saw crude jump by around 14 percent since early December.
"An upcoming soft patch in demand and extreme investors positioning does open up the possibility of some short-term weakness," ANZ bank said.
Overall, however, oil prices remain well supported, and most analysts do not expect steep declines.
The main price driver has been a production cut by a group of major oil producers around the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, who started to withhold production in January last year.
The supply cuts by OPEC and its allies, which are scheduled to last throughout 2018, were aimed at tightening the market in order to prop up prices.
In the United States, crude inventories fell 6.9 million barrels in the week to Jan. 12, to 412.65 million barrels.
That's their lowest seasonal level in three years and below the five-year average marker around 420 million barrels.
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NOVATEK - According to the MOU, the parties agreed to explore opportunities for KOGAS to enter the Arctic LNG 2 project and possible LNG off-take from the project, participate in the LNG transshipment project in Kamchatka and other infrastructure projects, as well as develop cooperation in LNG trading and logistics optimization, including swap operations.
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REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up $1.05 a barrel at $74.10 by 0925 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 80 cents higher at $66.34.
МИНЭНЕРГО РОССИИ - По итогам заседания расширенного мониторингового комитета большинством его участников было рекомендовано рассмотреть на предстоящей министерской встрече ОПЕК и последующей за ней министерской встрече с участием не входящих в ОПЕК стран-экспортеров нефти увеличение добычи на 1 млн барр в сутки (от текущего уровня) с распределением этого объема между участниками соглашения.