Oil Heads Lower On Small Inventory Build

Russian Energy Minister Novak and UAE's Oil Minister Al Mazrouei OPEC Secretary General Barkindo attend a meeting in the OPEC headquarters in Vienna

In gasoline, the authority reported a build of 500,000 barrels, with daily production at a little less than 9.9 million barrels.

USA crude futures were down 17 cents, or 0.31 percent, at $54.39 per barrel by 1215 GMT.

Taking control of oil revenues - the basis of Venezuela's economy - from Maduro and giving it to Guaido, and the decision to sanction oil companies, is the boldest US move so far to raise pressure on Maduro.

Output declines from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as they make good on their pact to curb a supply overhang were compounded by falling United States oil rig counts and sanctions on Venezuelan oil sales.

Prices have been buoyed by a new round of supply cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies that began in January. Bullish traders are banking on the Venezuelan oil sanctions and the OPEC-led production cuts to provide support.

Benchmark Brent crude had slipped 62 cents to $61.36 a barrel by 1000 GMT, after rallying about 15 percent in January. All in all, many analysts expect the heightened oil price volatility we have been witnessing for a few months now to remain throughout 2019.

USA sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company could also lift prices, though they have yet to trigger any sharp increase.

However, Russian oil output in January missed the target for the output cuts, Energy Ministry data showed on Saturday.

Venezuela's opposition is opening a USA fund to receive the proceeds of oil sales, a key measure to secure revenue for its effort to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Venezuela, like fellow OPEC members Iran and Libya, was exempt from production curbs under the deal on expectations that its output faced involuntary downward pressure in 2019. A stronger dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies. Brent reached $63.63 a barrel, the highest since December 7, while WTI climbed to $55.75 a barrel, the strongest since November 21.

The global economic outlook and prospects for growth in fuel demand have been clouded by poor economic data in China and US-China trade tensions. -China trade dispute. Oil prices fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

US President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that a trade deal was possible with China. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of talks next week.

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