Oil prices edged higher on Thursday as OPEC forecast relatively strong growth in global oil demand over the next two years and a cold blast in the U.S. disrupted some oil production.

Brent crude futures gained 28 cents to $78.16 a barrel by 0004 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) rose 34 cents at $72.90.

OPEC, in a monthly report, said world oil demand will rise by a robust 1.85 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2025 to 106.21 million bpd. For 2024, OPEC saw demand growth of 2.25 million bpd, unchanged from its forecast in December.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota, a top oil-producing U.S. state, below-zero degrees Fahrenheit temperatures caused oil output there to fall by 650,000 to 700,000 bpd, to less than half its typical output, the state said.

U.S. government data on oil inventories is due later on Thursday. Domestic crude stockpiles rose last week by 480,000 barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Wednesday.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects oil markets to be in a "comfortable and balanced position" this year - despite Middle East tensions - amid rising supply and a slowing demand growth outlook, its executive director, Fatih Birol, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Wednesday.

Attacks by the Houthis on ships in the Red Sea have forced many companies to divert cargoes around Africa, adding to journey times and costs. On Wednesday, the United States conducted another round of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in retaliation for the attacks on shipping.

The Iran-aligned Houthis say they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians during Israel's ongoing war with Gaza. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Tom Hogue)