US oil prices inched up on Tuesday, buoyed by expectations of tightening global supply amid U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and production cuts led by OPEC. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $54.73 per barrel at 0020 GMT, up 16 cents from their last settlement. They closed down 1.3 percent on Monday, after earlier touching their highest since Nov. 21 at $55.75 a barrel.
International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade, after closing down 0.4 percent in the previous session. Analysts said that U.S. sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies. The sanctions will sharply limit oil transactions between Venezuela and other countries and are similar to but slightly less extensive than those imposed on Iran last year, experts said on Friday after looking at details posted by the Treasury Department.
Oil supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell in January by the largest amount in two years, a Reuters survey found, as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies over-delivered on the group’s supply-cutting pact while Iran, Libya and Venezuela registered involuntary declines. Russia has been in full compliance with its pledge to gradually cut its oil production, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on Monday, adding that production decreased by 47,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January from October.