Brent crude futures were at $49.11 per barrel, up 0.41% by 0946 BST from their last close, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $46.71 up 0.36%.
West Texas Intermediate oil prices are depressed relative to Middle East benchmark Dubai because of rising US shale oil production and as the OPEC cuts have reduced the amount of Middle East medium, sour crude.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is hoping to cut oil exports to the USA in a bid to drain American oil inventories, a strategy that could see the United States imports of Saudi crude dropping to just 800,000bpd in August.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd could buy US light crude in a tender on Friday as they are priced competitively against African oil, the company's head of refineries Ramachandran said.
Oil steadied above $46 a barrel in NY after China's economic growth in the second quarter slightly surpassed expectations, while OPEC's commitment to supply curbs faltered.
India's reliance on Middle East oil imports shrunk in June to the smallest since October 2015 as the world's third-biggest importer tapped other sources amid OPEC supply cuts, ship tracking data from industry sources and data available on Thomson Reuters Eikon showed. Nigeria, despite its recent shut in, and Libya have added to those strains because they're exempt from the agreement so they can steer revenue toward national security efforts.
News last week that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) compliance of its troubled crude cutback initiative is at a six month low, along with the cartel reportedly having anticipated a revival in production from Nigeria and Libya, adds to the list of factors that could put pressure on the market in the near term.
Despite this, oil markets have struggled with oversupply since 2014, resulting in a more than 50 percent fall in prices since then. A decline in global oil inventories has now begun. Lower oil prices are starting to scare away shale drillers from jumping back into the field too aggressively. This is the reason I accumulate Total at?42, Chevron at 102, Oxy at 58.
Even though the news about higher OPEC production made more headlines in the past weeks, but oil traders are said to be at ease with the situation because of the of IEA reports, which note oil demand is growing faster than previously expected. The time to be an oil bear is over. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait are cutting their production, and Iran is taking longer than it would want to elevate output back to its pre-sanctions level.
The writer is a global equities strategist and fund manager.