Oil Prices Advance on Tight US Stockpile Concerns ahead of Winter

Oil prices rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday on concerns that the United States is running low on crude, heating oil, and jet fuel as a cold front approaches the country and holiday travel picks up steam.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 49 cents, or 0.63%, to $78.78 a barrel, while Brent crude futures gained 43 cents, or 0.52%, to $82.63 at 10.05 A.M. (Thai time), extending gains of around 3% in the previous session.

On Wednesday, both benchmark contracts increased as official data showed a larger drop in U.S. crude stockpiles than had been predicted, a decrease of 5.89 million barrels for the week ending December 16.

At the same time, distillate stocks, which include heating oil and jet fuel, fell, despite predictions for a gain.

Stockpile drops just as demand for heating oil is projected to skyrocket ahead of a severe winter storm that will strike the United States and bring record-breaking low temperatures to Florida and the eastern states.

Also, an increase in air travel after the Covid pandemic is forecast to increase demand for jet fuel over the December holidays.