Oil above $97 a barrel as US supplies decline

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm •  Published: December 4, 2013

The price of oil rose for a fourth straight day as the government reported the first drop in crude oil supplies in 11 weeks.

Benchmark crude oil for January delivery rose $1.16 to $97.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has gained $4.90 a barrel, or 5.3 percent, over the past four trading sessions.

The Energy Department said Wednesday that crude oil supplies decreased by 5.6 million barrels, or 1.4 percent, last week, breaking a streak of 10 consecutive weekly increases. The decline was more than four times bigger than analysts had predicted.

At 385.8 million barrels, the nation's supply of oil is still 3.8 percent above year-ago levels.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept intact its daily production target of 30 million barrels a day at a meeting in Vienna. But the group may come under pressure to reduce production if some supply sources currently experiencing disruptions return to normal.

For its part, Iran indirectly challenged OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, announcing it plans to pump as much oil as it can once sanctions on its crude exports are lifted, even if its extra output drives prices into the basement.

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