OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia seeks oil as high as $100

Today's markets: North Korea-US summit in the works

Today's markets: North Korea-US summit in the works

Oil prices rallied, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) hitting a high of $68.45 a barrel, the highest since December 2014.

Brent crude oil futures (LCOc1) were at $72.17 per barrel at 0539 GMT, up 59 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last close.

The Energy Information Administration said United States crude supplies fell by 1.1 million barrels for the week ended April 13, about twice the forecast decline. In its latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report, the EIA said that US shale production is expected to increase by 125,000 bpd in May over April, with the Permian production surging by 73,000 bpd, Eagle Ford's-by 24,000 bpd, and the Bakken's by 15,000 bpd. Distillate inventories were also down, by 3.1 million barrels, after a weekly draw of 1 million barrels in the prior seven-day period.

"Oil inventories have built by just three million barrels so far this year, compared to over 50 million barrels a year ago", he said. The data also showed a decline of almost 2.5 million barrels of gasoline stockpiles during the week-ending April 13, with inventories of distillates falling by 854,000 barrels during the same time period.

"Gasoline demand was very strong, virtually summer-like".

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.1 million barrels, EIA said.

Russia: Syrian regime now controls rebel town hit in chemical attack
He said that the US role in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not "to engage in the civil war itself". "We'll see what happens". Speaking to reporters at the White House later in the day, Trump said a decision had not yet been made on a course of action.

On Tuesday, prices fell on profit-taking, a stronger U.S. Dollar and worries about increasing U.S. production ahead of Wednesday's U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly inventories data. To compare, a week earlier, refineries churned out 10.2 million bpd of gasoline and 5.3 million bpd of distillate.

Refinery crude runs fell by 70,000 barrels per day as utilization rates fell by 1.1 percentage points to 92.4 percent of total capacity, the EIA data showed.

May natural gas ended little changed at $2.739 per million British thermal units.

Oil had fallen earlier this week from the highest in more than three years as geopolitical risks surrounding Syria eased, with Russian President Vladimir Putin now seeking to reduce tensions with the US, according to people familiar.

Elsewhere, the reported arrest of two Chevron Corp.

"The arrests in Venezuela could spell more turmoil, setting back any hope for a rebound in their oil production", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

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