Oil prices rallied in February to finish the month up for the first time in seven months as markets turned more bullish on expectations that the supply glut, which has been such a dominant factor in oil's slide since the middle of 2014 could begin to unwind later on this year.
International crude futures benchmark, ICE Brent, increased by USD 9.5 to close at approximately USD 62.5 per barrel (bbl) for April delivery-the biggest monthly rise since May 2009, said a monthly report issued by the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK).
Since mid-January, when prices touched a six-year low, Brent has climbed almost 31 percent, it said.
The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), increased by USD1.59 to reach USD 49.76/bbl in February, it said, adding similarly, local crude, Kuwait Export Crude (KEC), also gained during the month, ending February up at least USD12.0 to USD 55.0/bbl. Recent weeks have also seen the spread between Brent and WTI widen to over USD13/bbl; WTI had actually been trading at a premium to Brent in mid-January, it said.
Active US oil rigs are down by a sizeable 39 percent from their peak count in October 2014 to 986, according to rig count data provided by Baker Hughes, an oil services company, it pointed out.
The scale of the fall is unprecedented, even if the decline in rigs involved in horizontal fracking-the technique most commonly associated with shale oil production-has been a little less severe, it added.
According to OPEC data based on secondary sources, OPEC oil output declined by 50,000 b/d to 30.15 million barrels per day (mb/d) in January, it noted.
Declines of 260,000 b/d by Iraq and 150,000 b/d by Libya were largely responsible for the fall, it said.
For Iraq, recent momentum which saw the country hit a 35-year output high of 3.62 mb/d in December seemed to slow in January, while Libya, which is beset by strife between militias allied to the two warring governments, recorded its third successive month of falling output, to 0.34 mb/d, it made clear.
On the other hand, oil production was seen edging up in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait among GCC producers, to reach 9.68 mb/d, 2.84 mb/d and 2.78 mb/d, respectively, it concluded.