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U.S. crude oil stockpiles jumped last week as imports and production increased, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, as operations resumed from the impact of Hurricane Harvey which hit the Gulf Coast on August 25. For the previous week to September 8, the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a stockpile growth of 5.9 million barrels.

Oil prices rose yesterday after Iraq's oil minister said Opec and other crude producers were considering extending or even deepening a supply cut to curb a global glut, while a report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in United States inventories.

Meanwhile, U.S. oil production has largely recovered from the shutdowns following Hurricane Harvey, now standing at 9.51 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 8.78 million bpd directly after the storm hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. The American Petroleum Institute had reported (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/api-data-show-modest-us-crude-supply-rise-drop-in-gasoline-stockpiles-sources-2017-09-19) late Tuesday an increase of 1.4 million barrels.

WTI's front-month contract was up $0.15, or 0.3%, at $50.06 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude futures settled 14 cents lower at $55.48 a barrel, near an nearly five-month high of $55.99 touched on Thursday.U.S.

Under the deal, OPEC members and some non-OPEC countries pledged to cut production by 1.8 million bpd from January to tighten the market and prop up prices.

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Oil was up Wednesday ahead of USA production and stockpile data, after Iraq hinted at a possible extension of the current OPEC and non-OPEC production deal. The S&P Global Platts survey forecasts a fall of 800,000 barrels for gasoline and a 1 million-barrel draw for distillates. All told, total US petroleum stocks fell by 6.6 million barrels.

Iraq's disclosure came a day after industry data showed Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de factor leader and the world's largest crude exporter, had shipped its lowest amount of oil in three years in July.

The cuts have already been extended by nine months until the end of March 2018, over which time U.S. production has added 500,000 BPD.

The commodity got an additional boost on Wednesday, when Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi said that his country and other OPEC members are considering options to its production-cut agreement, including an extension beyond March and a deeper output cut.

Rounding out action on Nymex, October natural gas traded at $3.126 per million British thermal units, up less than a half cent.


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