US oil stockpiles are somehow still rising, defying the low price as Russia and Saudi Arabia become increasingly desperate for a deal

Billy Bambrough
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A worker at the Dura oil refinery, on th
Stocks of oil have continued to rise despite expectations the low oil price would force companies to cease production (Source: Getty)

Stockpiles of oil in the US have continued to defy the low oil price, adding the most barrels since April 2015, four times forecasts.

The price of crude has barely even blinked however, up almost a dollar on the day. International benchmark Brent crude is trading for $36.92, while West Texas Intermediate is going for $34.57.

US Energy Department numbers put commercial inventories up 10.4m barrels in the last week, adding to supplies that are already at historical highs.

Analysts had expected just a jump of 2.5m barrels. Worse, stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, a key US delivery hub, rose by 1.2m barrels, compared with expectations of a slight decrease.

Many analysts are expecting US production to begin to tail off, with the oil price currently half what it was last year. The price has slumped by 70 per cent since highs in the summer of 2014.

Over the past week however the price has continued to sing on hopes that global producers will be able to come to an agreement to cap production at January levels, though there are mixed feelings whether this is possible. A production freeze would also do little to ease the supply glut, with production at record levels around the world.

Opec leader Saudi Arabia has been negotiating with non-Opec Russia in historic talks. Other Opec members Qatar and Venezula also made the promise to cap their production if others could be convinced to do the same.

Yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin said the counties oil companies would freeze their production to try and drive up the price.

Saudi Arabia rivial Iran has however vowed to continue to ramp up its production, potentially derailing any deal.

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