International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $111.43 per barrel at 0638GMT for a 0.05% increase after closing the previous session at $111.37 per barrel.

Brent oil prices increased mainly due to the start of the peak consumption season in US and other countries, with increased transportation raising demand for oil amid the global reserves crunch and decoupling from Russian energy.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $108.98 per barrel, a 0.82% drop from $109.89 at the last close.

China’s strict COVID-19 measures to curb omicron-driven outbreaks, particularly in the financial hub Shanghai, have taken a toll on the world’s second-largest economy.

Declining infections in Shanghai have raised hopes for better oil demand, while China’s record cut in loan interest rates also alleviated markets’ concerns to some extent.

However, the detection of cases outside quarantined areas in Shanghai has triggered fears of continued stringent virus measures, preventing a fall in prices.

US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 0.8% during the week ending May 13, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the European Commission issued new guidance on Tuesday on how EU companies can pay for Russian gas in rubles without violating the bloc’s sanctions.

A day later, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen unveiled a €300 billion ($315 billion) plan to end the continent’s reliance on Russian energy.

She outlined a three-step plan, called Repower EU, which focuses on the demand and supply sides and accelerating a transition to clean energy.

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