By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 2% on Wednesday after a better-than-expected U.S. crude inventories report and as Russia said it would continue its cooperation with OPEC to keep the global oil market balanced.
Brent crude futures were up $1.42, or 2.3%, to $62.33 a barrel by 11:11 a.m. EST (1611 GMT), while West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained $1.41, or 2.6%, to $56.62 a barrel.
U.S. crude oil stocks grew by 1.4 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, compared with analysts' expectations for 1.5 million-barrel build and the 6 million-barrel build reported by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday.
Refinery runs rose 519,000 barrels per day and crude in storage at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI fell 2.3 million barrels, EIA said
"The Cushing inventory being down might be providing support," said Ryan Kaup, a commodities broker at CHS Hedging in Chicago. Along with refinery runs being higher, eventually those numbers are going to start to come down on crude inventory."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have 'a common goal' of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.
OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.
Escalating Iran-related tensions also supported prices.
The U.S. aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday sailed through the vital Strait of Hormuz through which a fifth of the world's oil flows as leaders in Iran blamed days of protests over fuel price hikes on foreign enemies.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major attack on key Saudi energy plants which briefly crippled from the world's top oil exporter.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday claimed victory over protests which have left scores reported dead.
"These events contribute to a sense of increasing tensions in the Middle East and explain why we have an uptick in the oil price today," said SEB chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.
The tariff war between the United States and China kept oil from moving higher. U.S. crude demand has slowed during the protracted trade war with China, and hopes for an end to the dispute in the signing of a so-called Phase One agreement have dimmed amid disagreements over the removal of tariffs.
China on Wednesday condemned legislation passed by the U.S. Senate aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement.
(Additional reporting by Noah Browning in London, Seng Li Peng; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Evans)
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2019 00:07:18 IST