Venezuelan opposition readies USA fund to receive oil revenue

US oil prices edge up as market eyes tighter supply

All in all, many analysts expect the heightened oil price volatility we have been witnessing for a few months now to remain throughout 2019.

US sanctions on Venezuela have been viewed as supportive for prices by helping tighten global supplies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 13 cents at $53.53.

At 447.2 million barrels, USA crude oil inventories are about 6 percent above the five year average for this time of year, the EIA reported.

Citgo, the eighth-largest US refiner and Venezuela's top foreign asset, is in the middle of a tug of war as the Trump administration has made aggressive moves to remove it from Maduro's control.

"In a market that's looking for direction, there's concern that any slowdown in the manufacturing sector would slow down demand".

"We've been turning the heat up on the regime", Mnuchin said Wednesday, touting the effectiveness of fresh sanctions that President Donald Trump's administration imposed January 28.

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White House officials have pushed back, insisting the time has come for other nations to step up their contributions to the fight. Despite Trump's decision, the U.S. still has 2,000 or so troops in Syria and only non-essential gear has been pulled.

A day after the American Petroleum Institute disappointed oil bulls by reporting an estimated inventory build across the board, the Energy Information Administration deepened the mood by saying USA crude oil inventories added 1.3 million barrels in the week to February 1.

"Despite several forays in WTI above our prior resistance of $55, the market continues to draft back down largely under the pressure of this week's stronger dollar", Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note. OPEC supply fell last month by the largest amount in two years, a Reuters survey last week found.

Russia has been in full compliance with its pledge to gradually cut its oil production, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on Monday, adding that production fell by 47,000 barrels per day (bpd) in January from October.

Meanwhile, US sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry are expected to freeze sales proceeds of Venezuelan crude exports to the United States.

US crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks also increased, the American Petroleum Institute said. The surge comes shortly after Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. This decline came prior to the commencement of an OPEC+ agreement to reduce 1.2mn bpd in output during the first half of this year. Both lines carry Canadian crude to the U.S.

"The market seems to be turning on renewed worries that there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress on the U.S". -China trade dispute have also weighed on the market.

US President Donald Trump last week said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, perhaps twice, in the coming weeks to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal with Beijing, but acknowledged it was not yet clear whether a deal could be reached.

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