© Reuters. An aerial view shows an oil factory of Idemitsu Kosan Co. in Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan November 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
By Laura Sanicola
(Reuters) – Oil prices rose slightly in early Asian trade on Friday as nations seek to address global crude oil and fuel supply tightness.
Brent crude futures rose 39 cents, or 0.4%, to $110.44 a barrel at 0012 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 37 cents, or 0.4%, to $104.31 a barrel.
OPEC and allied producing countries including Russia will likely stick to a plan for accelerated output increases in August in hopes of easing crude prices and inflation as U.S. President Joe Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia, sources said.
The group known as OPEC+ agreed at its last meeting on June 2 to boost output by 648,000 barrels a day in July, or 7% of global demand, and by the same amount in August, up from the initial plan to add 432,000 barrels per day a month over three months until September.
However, the group has struggled to hit the monthly increase targets due to underinvestment in oilfields by some OPEC members and, more recently, losses in Russian output.
Major U.S. oil refiners and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emerged from an emergency meeting over the issue with no concrete solutions to reduce prices, according to a source familiar with the discussions, but the two sides agreed to work together.
Official weekly estimates for U.S. oil inventories were scheduled to be released on Thursday but technical problems will delay those figures until next week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, without giving a specific timeline.