Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, supported by record Indian crude imports and upcoming talks between OPEC producers and other oil exporters on curbing output to end a glut in the global market.
Brent crude futures were up 21 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $52.62 a barrel at 0639 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 15 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last settlement at $50.94 per barrel.
Traders said that prices were boosted by record Indian oil imports.
India’s oil imports rose 4.4 percent in September from the previous month to a record high 4.47 million barrels per day (bpd) as the country expanded its refining capacity to meet growing fuel demand in an expanding economy, shipping data showed.
Oil imports by the world’s third biggest oil consumer surged 17.7 percent from a year ago, according to ship tracking data and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
The prospect of countries from oil group OPEC and non-OPEC members like Russia coordinating a production cut to rein in global oversupply, also supported prices.
However, analysts cautioned that a deal might still fall through especially as Russia’s participation remained uncertain.
Much would depend on the timing of any production cut, said Alan Gelder, vice president for refining, chemicals and oil markets at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which could deter participation.
“Timing is key for Russia to provide non-OPEC support to re-balancing the oil market, as September was, momentarily, at unprecedented production levels. The production reference (month) could require Rosneft to curb its current drilling programme, which is contrary to the interests of its private shareholders,” he said.
Oil has rallied more than 13 percent in less than two weeks since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries propsoed its first production curbs in eight years. But prices remain at about half of mid-2014 highs above $100 a barrel as questions remain over when the market will return to balance.
Goldman Sachs added its doubts on Tuesday, saying in a research note that the planned oil output cut by OPEC and other exporters has become a “greater possibility,” but warned a production cut likely won’t be deep enough to re-balance markets in 2017, and that oil prices may fall back into the low $40s per barrel.