Brent crude oil price rises as US stockpiles drop less than expected - despite disappointing Opec report

Jessica Morris
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Oil rose slightly this afternoon after figures by the US Energy Department suggested stockpiles of crude oil fell sharply last week - just hours after a report by the world's largest oil cartel said prices aren't expected to rise to pre-2015 levels until 2040.

The price of Brent crude oil rose more than two per cent to $37.12, after figures suggested the US had stocks of 484.8m barrels last week, 5.9m barrels lower than the week before. Analysts had expected a drop of 1.4m barrels.

However, the figure remains close to 80-year highs.

The news came hours after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) said it didn't expect oil prices to recover to $70 until 2020, before rising to $95 by 2040.

Oil prices have more than halved since June last year, and they are currently rebounding from an 11-year low of around $36 per barrel earlier this week.

Nevertheless, Opec expects demand will remain muted, reaching 30.7m barrels per day in 2020. This is about 1m bpd less that it's current pumping out, according to the cartel's 2015 World Oil Outlook.

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"Although lower oil prices continue to foster some demand growth, their impact seems to be limited by other factors," Opec said.

"The removal of subsidies and price controls of petroleum productions in some countries and ongoing efficiency improvements will all likely continue restricting oil demand growth."

Opec is increasingly split between wealthier members such as Saudi Arabia, which wants to hold current production levels to maintain market share, and poorer members like Venezuela and Algeria who want Opec to curb supply and spark prices.

This was borne out at the organisation's most recent meeting on December 4, with members failing to agree on a production ceiling for the first time in decades.

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