Oil advances as Kuwait sees consensus for extended output cuts

US crude futures surged to almost a two-week high after EIA reported that crude inventories rose 867,000 barrels last week, almost half the build expected.

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Analysts said the rise was only half of the build expected and that it was a sign of tightening USA crude supplies.

US energy prices rose after the data, led by gasoline RBOB futures which rose 2% to a three-week high of $1.6669 a gallon by 9:54 a.m. CT (15:54 GMT).

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Skeptics of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' deal to curb output have argued that the production cuts would be at least partially offset by Libya, which doesn't have an output quota under the deal. WTI Futures was up by 5 cents at $49.57 per barrel.

Prices rose Wednesday after United States government data showed that gasoline inventories dropped more than expected, while refineries boosted the amount of crude they processed by the most in nearly three years.

As a result, China became the third-biggest overseas destination for USA crude in 2016, according to EIA data, up from ninth position the previous year.

Opec member Libya was excluded from the cuts, agreed late past year, as the country's oil sector fell victim to the unrest that followed the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A lower than expected build in U.S. oil inventories helped underpin oil prices, although there was still underlying caution surrounding excess U.S. stocks and rising production which curbed potential gains in oil.

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The Libyan supply disruption is thought to be around 500,000 barrels of oil per day, Seaport Global Securities analysts wrote in a Wednesday morning note.

Libya said production dropped by about a third or 250,000 bpd earlier this week due to armed protesters blocking western oilfields of Sharara and Wafa.

Investors are waiting to see if OPEC decides to extend its production curbs into the second half of the year and whether adherence to the deal remains so high.

Russian Federation has agreed to cut its oil output by 300,000 barrels per day under the OPEC deal signed in Vienna.

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