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Oil Extends Rally Amid Severe US Cold Snap

Oil prices continue to rally on Thursday as a cold blast that's taken out almost 40 percent of U.S. crude production morphed into a global supply shock.

Brent crude for April settlement rose half a percent to $64.65, after having earlier climbed above $65 a barrel due to supply disruptions in Texas and hopes of demand rebound. U.S. crude futures were up half a percent at $61.42 a barrel.

More than 4 million barrels a day of U.S. oil output is now offline as Texas oil producers and refiners remain shut due to icy cold weather that's frozen well operations and led to widespread power cuts.

Officials warned of "disasters within the disaster" of historic cold weather that left millions without heat for a third day on Wednesday.

Adding to the oil price rise, the American Petroleum Institute's weekly crude oil inventory report estimated an almost 6 million-barrel drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week ended Feb.12.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its oil inventory data later in the day.

Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, meanwhile, warned global oil markets against the "futility" of trying to second-guess the OPEC+ oil alliance's next crucial move.

Speaking to fellow members of the OPEC+ alliance at a forum held virtually from Riyadh, he said that the world had to learn the lessons of last year's dramatic gyrations in oil prices.

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