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Oil prices stumble after strong jump in U.S. crude stocks


They are also looking for a rise of 1.25 million gasoline stocks, but expect a fall of 130,000 barrels for distillates, which include heating oil. USA distillate inventories also rose by 5.5 MMbbls during the same period.

- Iranian output rose slightly to 3.72 million b/d in December, from 3.7 million b/d in November. Both Brent and WTI futures are down around 6 percent since the start of the year.

Another factor behind last week's expected crude build was imports, which probably rebounded after having plummeted almost 1 million b/d to 7.183 million b/d in the week ended December 30.

Speaking at a CNNMoney roundtable at the Atlantic Council Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, Croft said markets were watching Iraq closely to see if it would cut as promised. With that issue in the rear-view mirror, imports likely recovered.

The United Arab Emirates and other Gulf producers have complied with cuts agreed under the OPEC output deal, U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said.

US energy companies last week added oil rigs for a tenth week in a row, extending a recovery in activity into an eighth month as crude prices remained at levels at which many drillers can operate profitably.

Not until mid-1Q of 2017 will there be definitive signs regarding whether the coordinated output cut of 1.8 million barrels per day - agreed among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other large producers - is actually winnowing down global supply.

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Brent crude oil prices are now forecast to average $53 per barrel in 2017, up from the agency's previous forecast of $51 per barrel. It averaged 8.77 million b/d the week ended December 30, up from 8.428 million b/d the week ended July 1, according to estimates by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

One of the units at the Garyville, Louisiana, and refinery taken offline last week was a 100,000 b/d hydrocracker. Crude production increased by 176,000 barrels a day to 8.95 million barrels a day, the highest level since April.

After falling nearly 6 percent earlier in the week, oil prices picked up steam Wednesday morning as traders saw a buying opportunity in the market.

Another concern for traders were high USA crude stockpiles, with the EIA scheduled to release its latest figures on Wednesday. Most of the part of this cut is credited to freezing temperatures which have fallen to as low as minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit throughout Siberia as reported by Reuters.

Daily demand is expected to grow by more than 1 million barrels, with emerging nations like China and India the main consumers.

"But of course, not only does this assume that both OPEC and non-OPEC producers do indeed stick to their individual production quotas, which would be no mean feat given their history of producing above their targets, but also that U.S. shale doesn't reemerge even stronger than before", NBK said.

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