Oil was up in Asian trade today as a completed US pipeline expansion project reduced oversupplied US inventory stocks, giving oil futures a positive nudge, analysts said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, rose 60 cents to $94.16 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for February delivery gained 34 cents to $110.98.

The Seaway Pipeline expansion completed on Friday means 400,000 barrels of crude oil can now be brought each day from the oversupplied mid-continent market around Cushing, Oklahoma, to refiners on the Gulf Coast.

Previously, only 150,000 barrels could be transported to refiners, leading to a build-up in stocks.

“Crude prices have been going up because the pipeline started up with expanded capacity, reducing the crude inventory in Cushing,” said Victor Shum, Managing Director of IHS Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.

A fall in inventory stocks usually indicates an increased demand for oil that supports prices.

The demand for oil in the US, which is the world’s largest oil consumer, has the ability to affect global oil prices.

(This article was published on January 14, 2013)
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