Oil edged up in early trade on Thursday, extending gains for a fourth consecutive day, as crude loading disruptions in Turkey and optimism over China’s recovering demand continued to buoy sentiment.
futures rose 14 cents, or 0.2% to $85.26 a barrel by 0239 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude
futures firmed 11 cents, or 0.2% higher, to $78.58 a barrel. Both benchmarks have gained more than 6% so far this week.
BP Azerbaijan declared force majeure on Azeri crude shipments from the Turkish port of Ceyhan on Feb.7 after a massive earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early on Monday. The disaster had halted operations at Ceyhan and disrupted crude oil flows from Iraq and Azerbaijan.
Hopes for a quick rebound in demand from China also supported oil prices as the world’s second-largest oil consumer ended more than three years of a stringent zero-COVID policy involving city-wide lockdowns and mass testing in December.
“We continue to expect sanctions linked to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and China’s reopening to be key price drivers in the next 12 months, where oil price upside appears most likely into the 2H 2023,” said analysts from NAB Commodities Research in a note.
However, increasing crude inventories in the United States put pressure on oil gains. Stocks rose last week to their highest since June 2021 to 455.1 million barrels.