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Oil prices edge up on China crude imports

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The report by Goldman Sachs stating that U.S. oil production is expected to increase this year by 235,000bpd also served as deterrent for oil prices.

Opec may not need to extend a six-month agreement with non-Opec members to pare oil output because demand is rising and compliance with cuts is high, the Saudi oil minister said on Monday. Brent has gained more than 20% since OPEC members reached a deal in Vienna on November 30 to erode their collective output by around 1.2 million barrels per day.

OPEC has agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day to 32.5 million barrels per day from January 1, trying to reduce the oil supply glut and boost prices.

Falih's words were also not entirely positive.

Oil Minister of Iran predicted that each baller of oil will be sold at 55 dollars adding "commitments of OPEC members to cap output became operational as of January 01".

Investors have doubted that OPEC and its allies can trim output enough to push up prices.

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures for delivery in November were 0.2% higher at $50.87 per barrel during Wednesday's pre-market trading session while Brent oil futures for delivery in December were 0.1% higher at $52.48 per barrel. In an attempt to assure compliance, OPEC set up an oversight committee to keep participating nations' production in check.

Total global LNG consumption is projected to be 422 million tons in 2030, nearly two-thirds higher than last year's level.

"No matter what encouraging statements come out, there will be a credibility gap based on past non-compliance by some countries", he said.

Reports that key crude exporters, including Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, were cutting production to reduce global crude glut, and forecasts of record demand in China are push factors for oil prices to rise higher in the near term.

But some analysts are even more optimistic than OPEC, with Goldman Sachs expecting compliance at 84 percent and Energy Aspects oil analyst Virendra Chauhan expecting compliance at 80 percent.

In the US, Sfakianakis said, inventories of crude and products last week rose more than anticipated, while a sharp increase in refining production to record highs pointed to solid demand.

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