Oil prices rose on Thursday, lifted by concerns over supply disruptions in Venezuela and the Middle East as well as by strong demand.
Brent crude oil futures
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $68.36 per barrel.
Oil output in Venezuela
U.S. oil major Chevron Corp
Venezuela`s plunging output comes amid strong demand as well as concerns that supplies from the Middle East, by far the world`s biggest oil producing region, could also be disrupted, especially should the United States in May re-impose sanctions against OPEC-member Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore U.S. sanctions on Tehran, which would likely result in a reduction of its oil exports.
Not all market indicators point towards tighter supplies, however.
U.S. crude oil inventories
U.S. crude production
American crude oil output has overtaken that of top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia currently produces more, at around 11 million bpd.
With U.S. output surging, some analysts warn that the 20-percent climb in Brent prices since February is starting to look overdone.
"The market does look a little toppish," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)