Ejiofor Alike with agency reports
Oil prices surged by more than $1 per barrel Thursday, lifted by concern about a steep drop in exports from Venezuela and concerns the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may not raise production at its meeting this month.
Global benchmark, Brent crude futures were up $1.48 at $76.84 a barrel, while United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $1.16 to $65.88 per barrel.
Crude prices got an early lift on concerns about exports from Venezuela.
Reuters reported that gains grew when Algeriaâ€™s oil minister indicated OPEC would focus on balancing the market rather than on rolling back production caps.
OPEC member, Venezuela, threatened with US sanctions in the midst of an economic crisis, is nearly a month behind delivering crude to customers from its main export terminals, according to shipping data.
Angola has also seen output decline rapidly from its aging fields.
In Venezuela, chronic delays and production declines could soon breach state-run PDVSAâ€™s supply contracts.
Tankers waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude, almost as much as PDVSA shipped in April, are sitting off the main oil port, according to shipping data.
OPEC and other producers including Russia have cut output since 2017 to reduce a global crude glut.
The group meets in Vienna on June 22 to discuss its supply policy.
Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni said on state radio: â€œWhat matters to us is that there is a balance between supply and demand to ensure the stability of the oil markets.â€
OPEC-member Iraq said on Wednesday a production increase was not on the table.
This followed an unofficial request from the United States asking OPECâ€™s effective leader Saudi Arabia to boost output.
Crude output is surging toward 11 million bpd in the United States, which is closing in on Russiaâ€™s position as the worldâ€™s largest producer.
Surging US production has widened the discount of WTI futures to Brent to more than $11 per barrel.