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For some petrostates, like Libya and Nigeria, this was a matter of course as they work to recover from significant supply disruptions, but for others like Ecuador it was about open defiance of a painful plan to pursue when crude is barely fetching $50 per barrel. Analysts expect crude oil inventories rose by around 3.2 million barrels at the end of last week.

United States output will average 9.84 million barrels a day next year, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook on Tuesday.

Much of that was due to a near 10 million-barrel increase in stocks in the U.S. Gulf region and as crude production rebounded from a brief Harvey interruption. The 32.76 million barrels a day pumped in August has marked a drop of 79,100 barrels a day from July. This compares with daily runs of 14.5 million bpd and gasoline production of 9.5 million bpd a week earlier. That is the largest drop since 2008. But as refineries gear up for a return, oil prices could find support and product prices could start to see a correction. The multi-national agency has revised its 2017 growth estimates upwards to 1.6 million barrels per day.

The full effects of the storm pushed gasoline pump prices up by 28 cents per gallon to a national average of $2.68 a gallon on September 4.

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"Based on recent bets made by investors, expectations are that markets are tightening and that prices will rise, albeit very modestly", the IEA, which coordinates energy policies in industrialized nations, said in its monthly report.

With the data release Tuesday, the global Brent price of oil was up 0.7% to $54.24 per barrel in recent trading, while the USA benchmark price was up 0.2% to $48.17.

West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1% to $48.71 a barrel on Wednesday morning. The 52-week range on October futures is $42.52 to $58.34.

On Friday, WTI lost 3.3%, causing its discount to Brent to blow out to beyond $6 a barrel, the highest for 2017. "Brazil and Russian Federation are both forecast to expand their recovery to 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent in 2017, respectively, followed by growth of 1.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent in 2018". Estimates from market intelligence firm Genscape showed an inventory growth of 1.2 million barrels in Cushing last week, said market sources who saw that data on Monday.