Oil prices rose on Wednesday, supported by tensions in the Middle East and healthy global demand, although rising United States output from the United States continued to weigh on markets.
Brent sweet crude futures were at 67.66 dollars per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 63.82 dollars a barrel at 0027 GMT, up 28 cents, or 0.4 per cent, from their previous close.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bn Salman arrived in Washington for a state visit, raising market-speculation the United States could re-impose sanctions on Iran, following renewed-criticism of the 2015 nuclear-deal.
Energy consultancy FGE said it was likely that the United States would re-impose sanctions on Iran soon, resulting in a 250,000 to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) drop in its exports by year-end.
Analysts also pointed to healthy economic growth and a weak dollar as oil price drivers.
In a sign of healthy demand, U.S. crude stocks fell by 2.7 million barrels in the week ended March 16 to 425.3 million, as refineries boosted output, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday.