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The significant growth in the company's profitability broadly reflects the prevailing strength in crude oil prices and the advantage of a significantly lower debt level.

The American Petroleum Institute was said to report USA stockpiles rose 5.59 million barrels last week.

Meanwhile, "the escalation of a trade war between the USA and China would reduce crude demand in the long term" and that concern could weigh on oil prices, Tate said.

Oil prices suffered their steepest monthly decline since 2016 yesterday, amid signs that the threat of renewed sanctions on Iran may not be as bad as feared.

The Reuters survey showed OPEC increased production 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 32.64 million bpd in July, the most this year.

us crude futures CLc1 were down 44 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $68.32 a barrel, having dropped almost 2 percent on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia agreed to try to help make up for losses from United States sanctions on Iran, the third-largest member of OPEC, but analysts question whether the unofficial OPEC leader could reach the president's implied production level of 12 million barrels per day.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 22 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $68.91 a barrel by 0058 GMT.

Week over week, USA crude oil exports fell by 1.37 million barrels a day last week and US production dipped by 100,000 barrels a day to 10.9 million.

Tuesday evening the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories jumped by 5.6 million barrels in the week ending July 27.

In other news, Yemen's Houthi group said that it would suspend attacks in the Red Sea in order to support peace efforts.

Oil prices have rebounded from recent lows over the last two weeks, as looming sanctions on Iran have already started to curtail exports from that country. This will also mean higher prices.

So far this year, WTI Crude prices have averaged $66.16 per barrel, and were down 0.47 percent at $69.80 at 07:58 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.

OPEC production reached a 2018 high in July, a Reuters survey found on Monday. In June, the member countries agreed to return compliance to 100%, which meant producers with spare capacity would increase their output to offset involuntary declines in Venezuela and elsewhere.

A factor contributing to exceeding the target was the addition of 320,000 BPD of production from Congo, along with increases in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. "Market participants are awaiting additional tariffs by the USA on the next tranche of imported goods from China". China's independent refiners were once the toast of the oil town, courted by everyone from OPEC producer Saudi Arabia to energy giant BP Plc and top independent trader Vitol Group. Trade tensions between the U.S. and its economic partners are also weighing down on prices due to the potential impact on economic growth and energy demand.