LONDON/ HOUSTON: Oil prices on Wednesday regained little ground lost in the previous session, weighed down by industry data suggesting US crude inventories fell less than expected.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up $0.31 at $57.93 a barrel by 0829 GMT. Brent crude futures gained $0.53 to $64.88 a barrel. Both benchmarks had shed more than 3% on Tuesday.
Crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels last week till July 12 to 460 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. That compared with analyst expectations for a drop of 2.7 million. The smaller-than-expected decline suggested production shut-ins caused by Hurricane Barry late last week had little impact on inventories.
Gasoline stocks also fell, the API data showed, but less than expected, and distillate inventories rose more than forecast. Official data from the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due at 1430 GMT. If confirmed, it would be the fifth consecutive weekly decline, the longest stretch since the beginning of 2018.
More than half of daily crude production in the Gulf of Mexico remained offline on Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Barry, the US drilling regulator said, as most oil companies were re-staffing facilities to resume production.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said 1.1 million barrels per day of oil, or 58% of the region’s total, and 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output remained shut.
On the other hand US crude oil refinery inputs decreased during the week ending July 12, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday. US crude oil refinery inputs averaged 17.3 million barrels per day (b/d) last week, 172,000 b/d less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 94.4 percent of their operable capacity last week.
Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 9.9 million b/d. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.4 million b/d. Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 20.8 million b/d, up by 0.6 percent from the same period last year.
Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.5 million b/d, down by 1.7 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 3.7 million b/d over the past four weeks, down by 4.9 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied was up 2.1 percent compared with the same four-week period last year.