Oil up on traders' hope investment cuts limit supply

Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:54pm EST
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By Samantha Sunne

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global oil prices snapped a two-day decline and rose around 2 percent on Wednesday on hopes prices will recover as energy companies cut production investment to alleviate a glut that has wiped out more than half crude's value since June.

The lift in prices come after OPEC's Secretary General and the International Energy Agency's chief economist both said they expected prices - hovering at April 2009 lows - to rebound later this year.

Total SA (TOTF.PA: Quote) joined a raft of international oil companies, including BP Plc (BP.L: Quote) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote), in slashing budgets in light of the recent plunge in prices. The French oil major said it would cut spending on U.S. shale production, among other regions, raising hopes there would be a reduction in the oversupply of oil from the United States.

The cut is "headline-grabbing," analyst Matt Smith of Schneider Electric said, but it will be months before an actual reduction will manifest itself.

"Until that point, we're going to continue to be weighing OPEC's ongoing production versus these potential cuts in the U.S.," he said.

Brent LCOc1 rose $1.04 to settle at $49.03 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 was up $1.31 and settled at $47.78 a barrel.

The dollar index .DXY was fairly flat, trading just under 93 as traders waited for the European Central Bank to announce a bond-buying program to support the European economy.

On the technical side, U.S. crude has yet to break through key resistance levels, indicating there is no clear pattern for a major upswing or downswing in coming days.   Continued...

A ship passes a petro-industrial complex in Kawasaki near Tokyo December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter