Oil prices rose for a second straight session on Thursday, as the possibility that OPEC+ producers might decide against increasing output at a key meeting later in the day lent support, alongside a drop in U.S. fuel inventories.
Brent crude futures added 53 cents, or 0.8%, to $64.60 a barrel, as of 0553 GMT, after climbing more than 2% on Wednesday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 46 cents or 0.8% to $61.74 a barrel.
Expectations of OPEC+ Meeting on Oil Supply
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together called OPEC+, are considering rolling over production cuts into April instead of raising output. A recovery in oil demand remains fragile due to the coronavirus pandemic.
India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, wants major OPEC+ producers to boost output to fulfil their promise of stable crude markets, Energy Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday.
Oil prices have recovered from last year’s price crash that was fueled by the pandemic. The recovery resulted from production cuts by the OPEC+ group, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia.
Crude benchmarks have been rising on expectations that OPEC+ might decide against increasing output to ease prices when they meet on Thursday. The group had previously been widely expected to ease the production cuts.
Rising oil prices pose fiscal challenges for India, where heavily-taxed retail fuel prices recently touched record highs, threatening the demand-driven recovery.
The market has been expecting OPEC+ to ease production cuts by around 500,000 barrels per day (BPD) from April and Saudi Arabia to end its voluntary production cut of an additional 1 million BPD.
Read also; Oil Prices Fall Amidst Supply Uncertainty.