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Crude Oil Plunges Almost 3% On Gasoline Surplus

Crude Oil Plunges Almost 3% On Gasoline Surplus

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $57.50 a barrel, down 22 cents.

Brent crude futures were down $1.28 at $61.55 US a barrel approaching noon ET Wednesday, after reaching a session high of $62.93 USA, while US crude futures dropped $1.33, or 2.2%, to $56.33 U.S.

US commercial crude stocks fell by 5.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories gained 6.8 million barrels.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise build of 1.821 million barrels of crude oil when analysts had expected a drawdown of 3.15 million barrels. Distillates rose by 4.26 million barrels.

Oil prices edge up on expected drop in USA crude stocks " That's a pretty bearish number on gasoline", Kyle Cooper, director of research at IAF Advisors in Houston, said by telephone.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday that USA crude stocks fell by 5.481 million barrels, more than the 4.1 million decline seen.

This week's unexpectedly large build in gasoline inventories is likely to put downward pressure on oil prices. The API report showed an increase of 9.196 million barrels, compared to forecasts of a much smaller 1.145-million-barrel build.

Among the heating fuels, January heating oil settled at $1.861 a gallon, down 2.8%.

Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma futures hub decreased by 1.951-million barrels this week. "U.S. oil inventories would be 32 million barrels lower if it weren't for SPR releases this year-down over 110 million barrels from March's record, rather than the 80 million barrels they are down now".

But the price has slipped from November's peak at around $65 US a barrel, the highest since mid-2015.

"The sentiment-driven support to crude oil prices has somewhat dissipated as market participants look beyond last week's OPEC meeting", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

"With U.S. production, we're still in the throes of seeing that go ever higher". Back in September 2015, he forecast crude would slump to between $25 and $30, five months before prices dipped to around $26.

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