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Crude oil prices continue uptrend after overnight rally on bullish outlooks

0300 GMT: Crude oil futures continued their uptrend in midmorning Asia trade Sept. 16 after sharp overnight gains on a bullish supply-demand outlook.

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At 11 am Singapore time (0300 GMT), the ICE November Brent futures contract was up 28 cents/b (0.37%) from the previous close at $75.74/b while the NYMEX October light sweet crude contract rose 26 cents/b (0.36%) at $72.87/b.

"Crude oil rallied to a six-week high following another large drawdown in inventories. US stockpiles fell 6,422kbbl last week, according to EIA data. The data follow warnings from the International Energy Agency that supply lost from storms in the Gulf of Mexico would offset gains from OPEC," ANZ analysts said Sept. 16.

Market watchers remain bullish on the outlook for the oil market amid the demand growth estimates for 2022.

The International Energy Agency has raised its 2022 oil demand growth estimate by 100,000 b/d to 3.2 million b/d, a day after OPEC hiked its own forecast of 2022 global demand growth by 900,000 b/d to 4.15 million b/d.

"Sentiment was boosted by the release of OPEC's latest outlook on the oil market, raising its 2022 oil demand forecast by 860kb/d, and now sees demand increasing by 4.15mb/d next year," ANZ analysts said, adding that the stronger outlook was being driven by an optimistic view on Chinese demand, along with positive economic developments supporting stronger demand in Europe.

On the supply side, all eyes were on the US Gulf Coast where recovery efforts continued post Hurricane Ida. Less than 30% of US Gulf of Mexico crude production remained offline Sept. 15 in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas, although the delayed restoration of onshore facilities continued to slow the return to normalcy in offshore operations.

WTI crude closed up $2.15/b to settle at $72.61/b while Brent closed above $75/b on Sept. 15 for the first time since late July, marking the highest level in six weeks after a US government report showed a bigger-than-expected drop in crude inventories, UOB analysts said.

In inventory news, EIA data showed Sept. 15 that total US commercial crude stocks fell 6.42 million barrels to 417.45 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 10, putting stockpiles 7% behind the five-year average for this time of the year. Total gasoline inventories decreased 1.9 million barrels and were about 4% below the five-year average for this time of the year while distillate fuel inventories decreased 1.7 million barrels in the same period -- about 13% below the five-year average.

The draw was largely the result of lingering US Gulf production outages following Hurricane Ida, which made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, Aug. 29 as a Category 4 storm.

Total US crude output averaged 10.1 million b/d in the week ended Sept. 10, the EIA said, up 100,000 b/d from the week prior but still down 1.4 million b/d from prestorm levels.