Posting its highest close since July of 2015, the WTI and Brent crude posted gains on Thursday as they were buoyed by a smaller-than-expected rise in inventories, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures climbed 86 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $54.45 a barrel.
On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 74 cents, or 1.3%, to end trading at $56.58 a barrel.
Oil jumped after the Energy Information Administration said domestic commercial crude oil inventories rose by 600,000 barrels in the week ending February 17. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a rise of 3.4 million barrels, though the American Petroleum Institute indicated inventories fell by 884,000 barrels.
The data also showed U.S. crude oil production rose 9.001 million barrels a day last week versus 8.977 million the previous week. Production hasn’t been above 9 million barrels since last April.
“Even as prices rise, the oil industry is still trying to recover from what was one of the biggest oil crashes in history,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group. “Almost a trillion dollars in capital spending cuts will take its toll and the shale producers will not be able to replace that oil.”
Analysts warn that rising domestic output will offset OPEC’s effort to dry out the market and potentially push oil prices back to the low $50s or high $40s range.
March natural gas futures also rose 2.5 cents or 1%, to settle at $2.617 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.