Brent for October settlement gained 48 cents to $52.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Although US crude oil export volumes are equivalent to just 11% of US crude oil imports, it is crude oil exports that have received the most attention in recent months. USA oil inventories are back within the five-year range and are at their lowest since January 2016. The official data from the Energy Information Administration is due out Wednesday. The API data also showed that inventories of distillates rose almost 2.1 million barrels, sources said.
USA hedge funds and money managers have already started lowering their bets on rising prices, with Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showing on Friday that investors had cut bullish bets on US crude for a second straight week.
Looking at supply side fundamentals, Opec output rose by 173,000 bpd in July to 32.87 million bpd on the back of increased output from Libya and Nigeria.
With OPEC alone, current production levels would add another 170 million barrels to global oil inventories, representing six times what the drawdown will be for all of 2017. Last week, the output of the most popular fuel averaged 10.6 million barrels daily.
There are indications that U.S. output may soon slow, as energy companies cut rigs drilling for new oil for a second week in three, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday.
Concerns over higher Libyan production have weighed on the market this year.
Crude futures were drifting lower early Wednesday in Asia as another weekly rise in USA gasoline inventories weighed on market sentiment, eroding the bullish impact of a drop in crude stocks reported by the industry body American Petroleum Institute for the week ended August 18.
Shale dump. BHP Billiton Ltd, after pressure from activist investors, are selling its onshore USA oil-and-gas operations as they have been losing big money in the US shale play.
The IEA and Opec reports were largely supportive of oil prices.
USA crude production has broken through 9.5 million bpd, its highest since July 2015. The production has increased by more than a million barrels per day since bottoming around last July. The Street was expecting a 3.3 million drawdown in USA stockpiles this week.