Oil extends gains on robust OPEC compliance

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TOKYO (Feb 1): U.S. oil prices extended gains on Thursday as OPEC's strong compliance with a supply reduction pact offset news that U.S. production topped 10 million barrels per day for the first time in nearly half a century.

NYMEX crude for March delivery rose 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $64.91 a barrel by 0030 GMT, after ending the last session up 0.4 percent.

London Brent crude for April delivery had yet to start trading, after settling on Wednesday up 3 cents at $68.89.

U.S. crude oil production in November surpassed 10 million barrels per day for the first time since 1970, and neared the all-time output record, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Oil output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also rose in January from an eight-month low as higher output from Nigeria and Saudi Arabia offset a further decline in Venezuela and strong compliance with a supply reduction pact, a Reuters survey found.

However, adherence by producers included in the deal to curb supply rose to 138 percent from 137 percent in December, the poll found, suggesting commitment is not wavering even as oil prices hit their highest level since 2014.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 6.8 million barrels last week, after 10 straight weeks of declines, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday. Analysts had expected a decrease of 126,000 barrels.

Gasoline stocks unexpectedly fell by 2 million barrels, compared with expectations in a Reuters poll for a gain of 1.8 million barrels, helping push up gasoline futures.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.9 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.5 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.