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Russia's oil output cut by 200000 barrels a day - energy minister

Oil prices rose Wednesday to finish at their highest level in roughly three weeks.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in April gained Rs 27 or 0.84 per cent to Rs 3,238 per barrel with a business turnover of 4,322 lots. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.14, or 2.4%, to settle at $49.51 a barrel.

Singapore received 11,000 bpd of the United States crude oil; Peru, 7,000 bpd; France, 7,000 and Spain bought 4,000 bpd, the EIA data indicated.

The gains added to a rise of more than 1 percent for both crude benchmarks the previous day.

Crude inventories rose by 867,000 barrels in the week ending March 24, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.4 million barrels.

The country, which was the largest non-OPEC producer that signed up for the cut agreement, said it would reduce production gradually, raising suspicions about whether it will try to find a way around it. Output is lower this month because more cuts have been implemented and due to planned maintenance, industry sources say.

USA crude oil inventories remain in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, according to the EIA.

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"We understand Saudi oil policy officials have reaffirmed the Kingdom and its key Gulf oil producing allies are highly likely to extend the Vienna agreement on output cuts for another six months, and stand ready to cut output by more in the second half of this year".

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday the deal between OPEC and non-OPEC nations for cutting output could be further extended beyond June.

"Fundamental support has come from Libya where trouble have close down supply from two sites producing 250,000 barrels of oil per day", he said.

In the United States in particular, shale oil drillers have seized the opportunity to ramp up output and exports.

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1, the worldwide benchmark for oil, were at $52.42 per barrel at 0040 GMT, unchanged from their last close.

"In 2016, USA crude oil exports averaged 520,000 bpd, 12 percent above the 2015 level, despite a year-over-year decline in domestic crude oil production", the EIA said.

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