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Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 0.2% at $73.61 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery dropped $1.10 to settle at $67.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices had tumbled to a six-week.

The weekly estimates for May all point to more than 10.7 million bpd of crude oil production, but the more accurate-albeit lagged-data, based on survey of producers, shows that US oil output had trailed projections by around 300,000 bpd.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have increased production to help compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies when planned USA sanctions take effect later this year.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said that crude oil production has gone up in July as Saudi Arabia pumped more volumes into the global market.

EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) from July forecasts that US crude oil production will average 10.8 million bpd this year, up from 9.4 million bpd in 2017.

Oil prices strengthened Thursday, with US crude gaining almost 2 percent after traders saw an industry report suggesting domestic crude stockpiles would soon decline again after a surprise rise in the latest week.

"It was surprising to see the build in crude, but it was a little bit offset by the bigger-than-expected draw in petrol and the draw in Cushing", said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors.

It was gathered that the Arabic nation's production increased by 230,000 barrels daily in July to 10.65 million barrels per day.

Oil prices could soon rally above $90 a barrel amid growing concerns over the prospect of steep declines in Iranian crude, according to industry analysts.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russian Federation had agreed in late 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance supply and demand.

On Tuesday, data released by the American Petroleum Institute showed USA crude stockpiles to have risen by 5.59 million barrels in the week, compared to analyst expectations for a 2.8 million-barrel drawdown.

Meanwhile, Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak said his country boosted its production in July to just below the post-Soviet record set in October 2016.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. gave up some of this year's stellar gains after reporting lower-than-estimated crude production for the second quarter.

The net imports averaged 6.44 million barrels per day last week, up by 1.35 million barrels per day from the previous week.


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