Crude oil seen higher in Asia ahead of IEA report

Petrol station in Singapore in the Geylang neighborhood; taken August 2018.

Crude oil prices are expected to gain in Asia on Thursday ahead of monthly supply and demand figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) and on a bigger-than expected-drop in U.S. inventories.

ICE Brent crude was last quoted down 0.18 percent at US$70.24 a barrel, while NYMEX West Texas Intermediate was up 0.87 percent at US$79.75 a barrel. Brent crude oil settled up 0.86 percent at US$79.74 a barrel, while WTI rose 1.62 percent to US$70.37 a barrel.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.296 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, far more than the draw of 1.3 million barrels expected and imports fell by 443,000 barrels per day (bpd), while exports declined by 320,000 bpd.

Gasoline inventories rose by 1.250 million barrels, less than the expected build of 1.321 million barrels, while distillates rose by 6.163 million barrels, well above an increase of 1.446 million barrels seen.

Refinery runs rose to 97.6 percent of their capacity last week from 96.6 percent the prior week, with crude inputs averaging about 17.857 million bpd, up 210,000 bpd from the prior week. Production fell to 10.9 million bpd, down 100,000 bpd from last week.

Also overnight ahead of the IEA monthly report, OPEC slashed its non-OPEC supply projections for this year and 2019, but lowered demand projections.

OPEC said it expected demand growth of 1.41 million bpd in 2019, a 20,000-bpd downgrade from its previous forecast.

OPEC production for August (from secondary sources) was up 278,000 bpd to 32.57 million bpd, supported by increased output in Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, partly offsetting decreases in Iran & Venezuela.

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