Oil prices increased on Wednesday as U.S. oil and fuel supplies tightened and as the possibility of additional OPEC+ output restrictions was raised by a warning to speculators from the Saudi energy minister. Brent crude futures were up 86 cents, or 1.1%, to $77.70 per barrel, while WTI was up 88 cents, or 1.2%, to $73.79 per barrel.
U.S. crude oil and fuel inventories declined significantly, according to industry figures released late on Tuesday. According to market sources quoting data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, crude inventories decreased by around 6.8 million barrels in the week ending May 19. About 6.4 million fewer barrels of petrol were on hand, whereas only 1.8 million less bottles of distillate were.
The United States petrol stockpiles would have decreased for the third consecutive week to their lowest levels before Memorial Day since 2014 if data from the Energy Information Administration, which is due on Wednesday, confirms the API estimates. Memorial Day, which falls on May 29 this year, generally ushers in the busiest travel season for Americans.
In the meantime, this month sees the beginning of production cuts by several OPEC+ countries. Concerns over a supply shortage increased after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister warned short sellers to “watch out” and said he would keep them “ouching” on their bets that prices will decrease.