Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production, as agreed at a meeting in June, to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once US sanctions take effect.
South Korea's imports of US crude jumped more than fourfold to 14.1 million barrels in the first half of the year from a year ago, according to data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp.
Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude prices went up by 12 cent, or 0.18 per cent, to United States dollars 67.78 a barrel while Brent crude edged up by 16 cent, or 0.22 per cent, to USD 72.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
It was gathered that the Arabic nation's production increased by 230,000 barrels daily in July to 10.65 million barrels per day.
Oil had been moving lower all session on the back of reports OPEC and Russian crude oil production rose during July, while a larger than expected DOE inventory build confirmed the API reports from Tuesday. That's an average monthly intake of 2.35 million barrels of US crude. Phil Flynn, a market analyst at the PRICE Futures Group in Chicago, said in a daily emailed market report that was supporting the spike in prices on Thursday.
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Brent for October settlement fell 34 cents to $72.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after dipping $1.82 on Wednesday.
It produced about 11.21 million barrels per day, an increase of 140,000 from a month earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the ministry's data.
Output by Saudi Arabia has also risen recently to around 11 million bpd, according to Reuters.
There were also factors holding oil markets in check. "A lot of this is the risk premium priced in for Iran and when do we start seeing an impact on supply there", Patterson said.
"At the moment, there is a mismatch in timing, where there is increasing OPEC supply and yet we're not seeing a significant reduction in Iranian supply", Patterson said.
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The kingdom has been under acute pressure from President Donald Trump to open the taps as he chokes off exports from Saudi's political rival, Iran.
Hedge funds and other money managers cut their bullish USA crude bets in the latest week, as oil prices were range-bound, pinned between concerns about tight supply due to sanctions and fears that trade disputes could curb demand.
There are a lot of escalation points that could occur very quickly and that worries me, Barratt said.
The country's top two refiners SK Energy and GS Caltex bought 2 million barrels of US crude each for October arrival, while its smallest refiner Hyundai Oilbank has also purchased 2 million barrels of medium-sour Mars crude for the first time, the sources said.
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