Investigations also showed that US crude stocks fell by 11.2 million barrels in the week to January 5 to 416.6 million barrels, industry group, the American Petroleum Institute, said on Tuesday. For the same period, analysts polled had consensus estimates for a decrease of 3.54 million barrels in crude inventories, a rise of about 3.43 million barrels in gasoline and an increase of 86,000 barrels in distillate stockpiles.
Should OPEC keep pumping at December's level and other things remain equal, the market could move into a deficit of about 670,000 bpd next year, suggesting inventories will be drawn down further.
Oil prices edged down Thursday, as investors mainly digested the release of US inventory figures. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were up 10 cents to $64.03 a barrel as of 11:22 a.m. EST, while Brent was down 5 cents to $69.33 a barrel, paring losses from earlier in the session.
In what seems to be shaping up as the analytical community and media fomenting over a non-issue, crude market gains on Wednesday caused experts to complain that oil prices have reached excess levels and this will only stimulate USA output - which in turn will cause the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who are the masterminds of the gains via its production cutbacks - to abandon its strategy prematurely.
On the flip side, Nigeria's efforts to boost production in order to take advantage of what seems to be robust global demand may be stymied as militants threatened on Wednesday to attack off-shore oil facilities within days.
OPEC's report follows a forecast from the EIA on Tuesday that it expects US oil output to continue to rise in February with production from shale increasing by 111,000 bpd. WTI settled at $63.97 on Wednesday and opened at $64.07 Thursday morning.
In November 2017, OPEC and non-OPEC member nations agreed to extend output cuts for the duration of 2018, keeping 1.8 million barrels per day of oil out of circulation. Crude prices are still up 51% since the lows seen in June a year ago. Exports climbed by 234,000 barrels a day to 1.25 million. Refineries were running at 93% of capacity, with daily input averaging 16.9 million barrels a day, about 448,000 less than the previous week's average.
Here is a look at how share prices for two blue-chip stocks and two exchange traded funds reacted to this latest report.
Dow Jones industrial component Exxon Mobil (XOM) rose 0.3% in premarket trading on the stock market today.
The United States Oil ETF (NYSEARCA: USO) traded up about 0.2%, at $12.80 in a 52-week range of $8.65 to $12.92.