Reuters had on Monday quoted traders as saying that the relatively high oil prices, coupled with the surging U.S. output, were making it harder to sell Russian, Nigerian and other oil grades in Europe, where the U.S. oil flooded.
Oil rose on Thursday, supported by expectations of renewed United States sanctions on Iran, declining output in Venezuela and continuing strong demand. Oil prices have risen in recent months following a prolonged period of low prices caused by a global glut in supply. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.
Crude oil futures were slightly higher Thursday despite an unexpected rise in US inventories.
Oil prices experienced more stability on Wednesday, but were below more than three-year highs reached the previous session as rising USA fuel inventories and production dragged on an otherwise bullish market.
Venezuela's crude production has fallen from nearly 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2016 to around 1.5 million bpd due to a political and economic crisis.
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A rise in US government borrowing costs to their highest since 2013 this week has tempered some investor appetite for risk, but analysts said Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, may yet rise towards new 2018 peaks above $75 a barrel.
French President Emmanuel Macron's prediction that the USA will pull out of the Iran nuclear accord stoked concerns about a renewal of sanctions that would slash crude exports from OPEC's third-largest producer. That's an increase of more than a quarter since mid-2016.
"All we're seeing is very strong pricing and the slight softening is primarily due to a stronger dollar", said Bjarne Schieldrop, SEB chief commodity analyst.
"With rising production from U.S shale still a key market theme that continues to weigh on oil prices, it will be interesting to see how much oil appreciates before bears enter the scene", he said.
The major driver of this development is renewed confidence in the U.S. Federal Reserve, the report adds.
Crude imports climbed 539,000 b/d last week to 8.469 million b/d, while refinery utilization rates averaged 90.8% for the week ending April 20, down 1.6%.