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Petrol price increase 2

West Texas Intermediate futures added 0.8% in New York. Strong fuel demand, output cuts by OPEC and collapsing Venezuelan production have helped clear a glut six months earlier than anticipated, Goldman analysts Damien Courvalin and Jeff Currie said in a report, raising their six-month price expectation to $82.50 a barrel from $62.

“Venezuela pulled OPEC production significantly below target in January,” Commerzbank said in a note. The group is “profiting considerably from the involuntary production outages in Venezuela at present, without which the oil market would be oversupplied.”

WTI for March rose 54 cents to $65.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:37, after adding 23c on Wednesday. Total volume traded was about 31% above the 100-day average. Front-month futures are still down 1.3% this week. Wednesday’s relatively small gain was spurred by the first draw in US gasoline stockpiles since early November.

Brent for April settlement was at $69.51 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 46c. The March contract expired  on Wednesday after rising 3c to $69.05. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $4.43 to April WTI.

Last week, US oil output surged above 10 million barrels a day for the first time in more than four decades, while nationwide stockpiles ended 10 consecutive declines, government data showed Wednesday.

The run of inventory declines - as well as OPEC cuts and a weaker dollar - helped send prices to a fifth month of gains in January, the longest such streak since 2011.

Still, the gain was seen spurring American drillers to pump more, prompting fears that stockpiles would once again start to build. Additionally, inventory increases were on the horizon due to seasonal refinery maintenance.

Oil-market news:

• US crude stockpiles climbed 6.78 million barrels to 418.4 million barrels last week, according to government data.

• Contributing to the expansion was a 41 000-barrel increase in daily production as well as the biggest tranche of imported oil since August.

• US gasoline inventories dropped by 1.98 million barrels, according to the data, helping ease concern over lackluster demand.

• Royal Dutch Shell said improved exploration and production lifted its quarterly profit to a three-year high, while refining and trading fell short of expectations as margins shrank.

• BHP Billiton, seeking to accelerate the sale of its US shale unit, is prepared to offer the assets in as many as seven packages, including three in the prized Permian Basin, according to people with knowledge of the producer’s plans.