New York June 2 2022: Oil prices edged higher on Thursday after U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected amid high demand for fuel and OPEC+ agreed to boost crude output to compensate for a drop in Russian production.
U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week by 5.1 million barrels to 414.7 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel drop.
Brent futures rose $1.16, or 1%, to $117.45 a barrel by 12:06 p.m. EDT (1606 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $1.51, or 1.3%, to $116.77.
Prices, however, were also supported by the European Union's sixth package of sanctions against Russia, approved on Thursday, which will include an immediate ban on new insurance contracts for ships carrying Russian oil and a six month phase-out on existing contracts.
The benchmarks have mostly marched higher for several weeks as Russian exports have been squeezed by U.S. and EU sanctions against Moscow over its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, an action Moscow calls a "special military operation."
Oil prices fell earlier on Thursday ahead of the OPEC+ meeting on expectations Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members could boost oil output to offset a drop in Russian production.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, agreed to raise output by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and 648,000 bpd in August, a source told Reuters.