A glut of stored oil that helped keep prices low for years is almost gone, thanks to production cuts resulting from concerted effort by Saudi Arabia, its OPEC colleagues, and Russia; a humming global economy and a series of small but meaningful supply disruptions. Excess inventories of stored oil by the world’s industrialized economies are now at their lowest level in more than three years, based on a five-year running average, according to data released Thursday by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. After months of steepening declines, the cartel said commercial inventory levels shrunk a further 17.4 million barrels in February, to about 2.85 billion barrels. That represents a surplus of just 43 million barrels, based on the five-year average. Two years ago, the storage surplus hit 400 million barrels. The International Energy Agency had said on Friday that OPEC could declare its mission accomplished in its battle to reduce global glut of oil that had built up since 2015. IEA expects the figure to drop even below the five – year average target in the next month or two. – Wall Street Journal & Financial Times

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