Oil prices rose on Wednesday, buoyed by a large US inventories drawdown and as sanctions stall exports from Venezuela.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.12 per barrel, up 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last settlement.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $66.65 per barrel, up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent.
The decrease in net crude oil imports (December, 2018) was driven primarily by lower imports from Saudi Arabia (down 160,000 bpd month-on-month) and higher exports to Asian countries such as South Korea (up 200,000 bpd month-on-month), China (up 90,000 bpd month-on-month) and India (80,000 bpd month-on-month), Barclays bank said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-aligned producers including Russian Federation have been withholding oil supply since the start of the year to tighten global markets and prop up crude prices.
"I expect to see WTI hitting $60 a barrel in the next couple of weeks as inventories in the USA are impacted by the lack of Venezuelan imports", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
"We are aware that our diplomatic and economic pressure, the timing and the pace of that affects Venezuela's oil industry", Hook said.
However, the progress of the project had got a jolt after 42,000 notices for land survey and acquisition, which were served to families in 17 villages of Ratnagiri district, were put on hold by the state government, following an electoral arrangement between Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday the production-curbing agreement would likely last until at least June.
"We will see what happens by April".
For the 24 hours to 23:00 GMT, Crude Oil rose 0.44% against the Dollars and closed at USD57.16 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration, in its short-term Energy outlook, lowered its projections for USA crude production growth.
In the Middle East, the United States aims to cut Iran's crude exports by about 20 percent to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from May by requiring importing countries to reduce purchases to avoid US sanctions, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The slowdown in drilling points to more timid output growth going forward, but because the overall drilling level remains relatively high despite the recent decline, many analysts still expect US crude output to rise above 13 million bpd soon.