Oil futures rise after US crude stockpiles fall

Suzie Neuwirth
OIL FUTURES rose yesterday, after US data showed a larger-than-expected drop in last week’s crude stockpiles, combined with heightened concerns about the geo-political situation in Iraq.

Figures from the US Energy Information Administration revealed that US crude oil inventories decreased by 2.6m barrels from the previous week, surpassing analysts’ expectations of a 1.7m drop.

Light crude futures rose 0.12 per cent to $104.47 (£62.23).

The oil price was given an extra boost after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided at a meeting in Vienna to maintain current production targets at 30m barrels of oil per day for the rest of the year, despite supply risks in Iraq and Libya.

Iraq produces 3.6m barrels of oil per day. Militant forces have now closed in on the country’s largest oil refinery in Baiji.

Meanwhile in Libya, 10 months of protests at oil facilities have slashed output to around 200,000 barrels per day, down from 1.4m barrels per day last July.

Rebel forces who helped oust Gaddafi in 2011 are now seizing oil assets.