Crude Oil Rebounds Ahead Of US Rig Count

Angola falls back from leading oil production in Africa

Earlier in the day, both contracts hit their highest since the end of September, putting Brent on track for a weekly gain of 3 percent, and US crude for a 4 percent weekly increase.

The International Energy Agency estimated in its monthly report on Thursday that the decline in inventories this year will halt in 2018 due to rising supplies from the USA and elsewhere. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $51.59 per barrel, up 99 cents from its last settlement. Prices are up 4.4 percent this week.

Traders said the oil market pulled back from even higher gains - both contracts were up over 2 percent - earlier in the day out of relief that Trump did not immediately seek to impose sanction on Iran.

The monthly OPEC oil market report noted that, based on secondary sources, Angola produced 1.641 million barrels in September, a monthly drop of 2,900 barrels, while Nigeria increased production by 50,800 barrels to 1.855 million barrels. "That's on the supportive side", Olivier Jakob, managing director of PetroMatrix, said.

Chinese oil imports hit 9 million barrels per day (bpd) in September, data showed.

China's robust imports have been driven by purchases for its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR).

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Supply also increased. "World oil supply in September was revised up by 0.41 million bpd month-on-month from the previous report to average 96.50 million bpd, representing an increase of 1.08 million bpd year-on-year", OPEC said in its report.

Unrest in Iraq and the prospect of a tougher United States action on Iran nuclear deal also underpinned prices.

"The market is relieved that the U.S.is not going to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal today and they will instead kick the can down the road", said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. At least 6,000 Kurdish fighters have been deployed in the oil-rich Kirkuk province following "threats" of attack from Iraqi forces, media network Rudaw reported.

The OPEC expects demand to hike by 1.4 million barrels per day.

However despite the bullish predictions from some analysts, many experts believe that oil cartel Opec still must extend production cuts through to 2018.

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