Oil rises on supply cuts, Mideast tensions; trade worries cap gains


Oil producers in the USA part of the Gulf of Mexico have begun evacuating employees from their platforms ahead of a possible storm that is for now a tropical depression, Reuters reports, adding the storm could develop by this evening or tomorrow.

The solar units behind an oil pump outdoors Saint-Fiacre, close to Paris, France March 28, 2019.

USA crude futures rose $1.55, or 2.7%, to $59.38 a barrel in early Wednesday trade. Brent LCOc1 was up 61 cents, or 1%, at $64.77, having earlier hit $64.95.

Late Tuesday, the API reported a larger-than-expected crude oil inventory draw of 8.129 million barrels for the week-ending July 4.

All eyes now remain on the official crude stocks data from the USA government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) due later today at 1430 GMT for near-term trading opportunities.

"Prices are finely balanced right now as investors await fresh stimulus", said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at FOREX.com.

Major oil companies began evacuating and shutting in production in the Gulf of Mexico after weather forecasts warned that a tropical disturbance might become a storm on Wednesday or Thursday.

Andarko's total Gulf output averaged 166,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter.

Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Phillips 66 (PSX.N), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) were preparing for heavy rain and wind at refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly a fifth of the world's oil passes, if it was unable to export its oil due to US sanctions. -China trade war that has dampened prospects for global economic growth.

Hedge funds offered new Brent futures and choices final week as issues in regards to the world economy trumped the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to extend output cuts.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Britain would face "consequences" over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker near the coast of Gibraltar last week.

US oil prices climbed 2.7% on Wednesday as more producers shut production and removed workers at Gulf oil and gas platforms.

Tensions around Iran's nuclear program and recent incidents involving oil tankers also support prices; Iran's Pres. Rouhani says the United Kingdom will face "consequences" over the seizure of an Iranian tanker near the coast of Gibraltar last week.

Still, U.S. crude oil production is forecast to rise to a fresh record of 12.36 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 from the high of 10.96 million bpd previous year, the EIA's Short Term Energy Outlook said on Tuesday.