The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on Wednesday to keep its production target unchanged at 30 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first half of 2014, despite Iran and Iraq setting high output targets for the year ahead.
“For us, the OPEC meeting, and the decision to extend quotas, was a non-event,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head for commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas.
“We’re looking at a situation that remains unchanged, where Saudi Arabia remains the swing supplier and the swing subtracter of oil.”
Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and has been pumping over 9 million bpd since early 2011 to make up for supply disruptions in other countries.
Brent crude for January delivery was up 18 cents at $112.06 a barrel at 0946 GMT. It lost 74 cents the previous session.
U.S. crude was 39 cents higher at $97.59 per barrel, after gaining more than 5 percent over the past four sessions.
U.S. crude rose more than a dollar on Wednesday after the country’s crude stockpiles dropped for the first time in 11 weeks.
Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude stocks fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 29, cutting around one-sixth of the 36 million barrels that had built up over the previous 10 weeks.
Crude production in the United States dipped slightly last week but held above 8 million bpd, the data showed.
“The draw was the result of refinery runs climbing back above 16 million bpd for the first time since early September, as refineries ramped up runs after maintenance and on attractive margins,” Energy Aspects said in a note.
Oil investors will keep an eye on U.S. third-quarter GDP numbers due at 1330 GMT and the November jobs report due on Friday for signs of improvement in the world’s largest economy.
After an initial growth reading of 2.8 percent last month, a Reuters poll predicted a modest upward revision to 3 percent for GDP growth in the third quarter.
Data on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers added 215,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the biggest increase in a year, leading to speculation payrolls could also be upbeat and perhaps prompt the Federal Reserve to start curbing its commodity-boosting monthly bond buying programme at its next meeting Dec. 17-18.