Oil prices were slightly higher in Asian trading hours, before the release later today of the weekly US government report on petroleum inventory

Oil prices were slightly higher in Asian trading hours, before the release later today of the weekly US government report on petroleum inventory, dealers said.

At 10.50 am (0250 GMT) here, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, was at 61.38 usd, 0.01 usd higher than its close of 61.37 usd in the US overnight.

Forecasts of a snow storm in the northeastern US, the world’s largest heating oil market, was one the factors keeping prices firm, dealers said.

‘There is a new snow storm approaching the US northeast, so this is driving the energy complex higher,’ said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a Hong Kong-based investment strategist with CFC Seymour Securities.

An upward revision of global oil demand in 2006 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) also gave support to the market, dealers said.

The IEA yesterday revised upwards its estimate for demand for OPEC oil in 2006 to 28.5 mln barrels per day (bpd).

OPEC’s decision during a meeting in Kuwait to withdraw an emergency offer of spare capacity and leave unchanged its quota of 28 mln bpd also added weight to the market, dealers said.

Source : www.forbes.com