Oil prices edge up on tightening market

Brent weekly chart

"It's the eternal question about the current flat price and what it does to US crude oil production", Petromatrix oil strategist Olivier Jakob said.

The U.S. gasoline futures crack spread, a key metric in measuring refiner margins, was down as much as 5.3 percent at $13.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the data. Over the course of the past four weeks the average per day has been 8.2 million barrels.

OPEC and Russian Federation have promised to cut supplies in order to re-balance energy markets and keep oil prices above $50 a barrel.

As such, the resurgence of oil production from different parts of the world will take the wind out of the sails of the OPEC deal.

The Ministerial Monitoring Committee, chaired by Kuwait, will also include Algeria, Venezuela and non-OPEC members Oman and Russian Federation. "In China and Colombia, the sharp declines in production seen in 2016 will be reduced".

January could see oil supply decline further. This will also help whittle down the high inventory levels in OPEC countries, he added.

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Other major oil-producing nations that are not OPEC members but are pledging to curb production include Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Sudan and South Sudan.

The International Energy Agency (EIA) said on Thursday that it expects US shale production to surge this year thanks to technology gains.

With oil prices significantly above their lows of 2016 and OPEC's commitment to price stability, shale companies are once again starting to raise money for increased production.

OPEC's monthly oil markets report will be released later on Wednesday.

The data also showed much larger-than-expected builds in gasoline with inventories of the motor fuel on the U.S. East Coast swelling to the highest weekly levels on record for this time of year, when refiners typically begin storing barrels ahead of summer driving season. Global inventories of petroleum products in OECD countries - rich countries that the IEA specifically tracks - fell for the fourth consecutive month, although they still hovered more than 300 million barrels above the five-year average.

Meanwhile, Brent's premium to the WTI crude contract stood at $2.74 a barrel by 11:08AM ET (16:08GMT), compared to a gap of $2.84 by close of trade on Wednesday. ICE gasoil changed hands at $481.25 a metric ton, down $9.75 from the previous settlement.

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