U.S. oil climbed nearly $2 on Wednesday on expectations that frigid weather in the U.S. Northeast would prompt strong demand for heating fuel, amid forecasts for declining supplies.
The bitterly cold weather in the U.S. Northeast also sent U.S. natural gas prices to a two-and-a-half-year high, traders and brokers said.
Brent oil followed U.S. oil higher after two days of reports underscored strong global oil demand growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted higher growth in advanced economies, while China's central bank injected liquidity into money markets to ease bank-to-bank lending in the world's second-largest oil consumer.
A strong U.S. equities market earlier in the day also added to gains, prompting institutional investors to buy contracts and cover short positions.