Oil prices have regained ground on news that oil and gas reserves at ExxonMobil fell by nearly a fifth last year – the largest drop at a major international oil company in at least a decade.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.9 per cent at $56.36 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was up 1 per cent in morning Asia trade at $53.55 a barrel. Those gains follow respective falls on Wednesday of 1.5 and 0.9 per cent.

Most of the reduction at Exxon came from the company being forced to “de-book” the entire 3.5bn barrels of bitumen it had previously reported for its Kearl oil sands project, which cost C$21.5bn.

Another 800m barrels equivalent of oil and gas in North America were also revised out of reported reserves, mainly from fields that are expected to be shut down sooner than previously expected.

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