Crude prices rose today, despite official data showing US oil stocks continued to build last week.
US oil inventories increased by 3.9m barrels last week, ahead of expectations for 3.2m, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 2.6 per cent to $40.7 per barrel today. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark added 3.3 per cent to $37.69.
Meanwhile, investors continued to speculate over a production freeze deal between the world's largest exporters in the run up to a key meeting later this month.
Producers in and outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plan to meet in Moscow on March 20 to discuss an output freeze, an Iraqi oil official told state newspaper Al-Sabah today.
"If there is a freeze agreement of some sort, then it could (form) the bridge to the tighter supply/demand balance in the second half, so I think that has definitely helped to support prices," Petromatrix crude oil strategist Olivier Jakob said.
Deal talk has sparked a wave of optimism, sending crude prices up about 25 per cent since it emerged mid-February.