Oil earlier declined on forecasts a U.S. Energy Department report will probably show that crude stockpiles, 10 percent above their five-year average, increased for the 15th time in the past 17 weeks. U.S. inventories probably rose 1.5 million barrels last week, according to the median of analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Crude oil for March delivery advanced as much as $1.15, or 2.8 percent, to $41.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract was at $41.55 a barrel at 1:32 p.m. London time.
The February contract expired yesterday, up $2.23, or 6.1 percent, at $38.74 a barrel in the biggest gain since Dec. 31. Sales volume for the contract was less than March’s as traders avoided taking supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for Nymex futures.
The Energy Department is scheduled to release its weekly inventory report tomorrow, a day later than usual because of the Jan. 19 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Crude oil stockpiles at Cushing, where West Texas Intermediate traded on the Nymex is stored, climbed 2.5 percent to 33 million barrels during the week of Jan. 9, the Energy Department said last week. It was the highest since at least April 2004, when the department began keeping records for the location. Total capacity there is 47.7 million barrels, according to data from Lipow Oil Associates LLC.
Brent crude oil for March settlement traded for $43.66 a barrel, 4 cents higher on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 1:23 p.m. local time.