Oil markets remained tense on Thursday on concerns of a military escalation in Syria, although prices remained some way off Wednesday’s highest since late 2014 as bulging American supplies weighed. Brent crude futures were at $72.30 per barrel at 0244 GMT, up 24 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last close.
U.S. WTI crude futures were at $67.09 a barrel, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement. In China, Shanghai crude futures were also up, rising 8.9 yuan to $427.1 yuan ($427.10) per barrel, with record volumes traded on the product that was only launched in late March.
Both Brent and WTI hit highest since late 2014 of $73.09 and $67.45 per barrel on Wednesday, respectively, after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles over Riyadh and U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria.
“Geopolitical risks outweighed an unexpected rise in inventories in the U.S.,” ANZ bank said on Thursday. U.S. crude oil inventories <C-STK-T-EIA> rose by 3.3 million barrels to 428.64 million barrels.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil production <C-OUT-T-EIA> last week hit a fresh record of 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd), up by a quarter since mid-2016. The United States now produces more crude than top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia, at currently just under 11 million bpd, pumps out more.