U.S. oil prices rose
on Thursday, prompted by a hefty inventory draw last week, as traders shrugged off Iraq's announcement that it would soon restart exports. Crude for August delivery gained 81 cents to last trade at $27.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stocks fell by 4.8 million barrels last week, higher than the industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) estimate of a four million barrel draw.
Crude stocks now stand at about 310 million barrels, cutting down year-on-year surplus to under 20 million barrels. Refineries drained inventories as they stepped up production of refined products by 2.4-2.6 percent to around 97 percent of capacity. Demand for gasoline, meanwhile, jumped last week to 9.6 million barrels per day (bpd) ahead of the Fourth of July driving period, from 8.56 million bpd the previous week. - (Reuters)