Oil seesaw as IEA members meets to discuss stocks release

OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, on Thursday stuck with plans for an increase of 432,000 barrels per day to their May output target despite Western pressure to add more.

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London: Oil prices seesawed on Friday ahead of a meeting of International Energy Agency (IEA) member nations set to discuss a release of emergency oil reserves alongside a huge planned release by the United States.

Brent crude futures slid 8 cents to $104.63 per barrel after falling 5.6% on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures declined 32 cents to $100.02 per barrel.

Both contracts were down earlier in the session. The two benchmark contracts were also headed for their biggest weekly losses in two years at 14% and 13%, respectively.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a release of 1 million barrels per day for six months, starting in May. That will be the largest release ever from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Members of the IEA will meet at 1200 GMT on Friday to discuss a further emergency oil release.

Oil prices could reverse course, however, if the release is scaled back or delayed or if delivered volumes are less than those mentioned by the White House, consultancy Eurasia Group said in a note.

OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, on Thursday stuck with plans for an increase of 432,000 barrels per day to their May output target despite Western pressure to add more.

“The looming flood of U.S. barrels does not change the fact that the market will struggle to find enough supply in the coming months,” PVM analyst Stephen Brennock said.

“The U.S. release pales in comparison to expectations that 3 million bpd of Russian oil will be shut in as sanctions bite and buyers spurn purchases.”

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