Crude oil futures posted modest gains and moved settlements above the crucial $50 a barrel benchmark on Thursday, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, January West Texas Intermediate crude gained $1.07, or 2.2%, to settle at $50.84 a barrel.
On the London ICE Futures Exchange, February Brent crude, the global benchmark, tacked on 89 cents, or 1.7%, to settle at $53.89 a barrel.
A survey released by S&P Global Platts after Thursday’s oil settlements showed that OPEC production rose by 320,000 barrels a day to a record 33.86 million barrels a day in November.
Weekly inventory data from the Energy Information Administration released Wednesday showed a large increase in stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma crude oil hub.
Meanwhile, natural gas futures turned higher on Thursday afternoon, with the January contract up 9.2 cents, or 2.6%, to settle at $3.695 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On Thursday, the EIA reported that natural gas supplies fell by 42 billion cubic feet for the week ending December. 2. That was generally in line with the decline of 40 billion expected by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts.
“Everybody is wary of January and February weather risks, and if the winter demand surge in the upcoming two weeks can continue,” said Richard Hastings, macro strategist at Seaport Global Securities.
Still, Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi Futures, said that looking ahead, “we fully expect the market to focus more on the upcoming cold than only last week’s details.”