Oil prices rise on decline in U.S. crude inventories

Oil prices rose on Thursday in Asia after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell last week.

Oil prices jumped as much 4.5% overnight immediately following the EIA report.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute report showed an 8.1 million barrel fall in inventories last week.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures last traded at $60.62 by 1:14 AM ET (05:14 GMT), up 0.3%. International Brent Oil Futures gained 0.2% to $67.17.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude oil inventories plummeted by 9.50 million barrels in the week to July 5. Forecasts predicted a stockpile draw of 3.08 million barrels, after a decline of 1.09 million barrels in the previous week.

Also, supporting oil markets was news that Iran tried to seize a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

The British Heritage was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when the Iranian vessels approached it, demanding the tanker change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, CNN said, citing two U.S. officials. Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats attempted to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, CNN reported, amid heightened tensions in the region. Iran denied the report.

Tensions have been high in the Middle East after some reported attacks on tankers, and the downing of a U.S. drone by Iran last month.

Tehran’s decision this week to enrich uranium beyond the levels it had committed to under the JCPOA nuclear agreement further escalated the tension.