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Oil futures dropped today as US crude stockpiles rose to a record-high, which created demand concerns.

Brent crude fell by two cents to $108.05 a barrel, while US oil was down by three cents to settle at $99.71, reported Reuters.

Crude prices dropped after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data revealed that US crude oil inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels in the week ending 25 April.

Gasoline stocks also rose by 1.6 million barrels last week and inventories of distillate, including heating fuel, rose by 1.9 million barrels.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute also showed that US oil inventories increased by three million barrels last week.

Oil prices were also affected after the US Federal Reserve disclosed its monetary policy statement, which further trimmed the monthly bond buying programme by $10bn.

"However, the shutdown of Britain’s Buzzard oilfield in the North Sea for planned maintenance and construction work offset the expansion in crude output."

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in April edged up from March, but it missed forecasts, which created slight negative impact on oil as it confirmed a difficult outlook for the Chinese manufacturing sector.

Prices were also pressured by the imminent restart of the eastern Zueitina port in Libya, which is due to load its first tanker of crude since reopening after being closed for nearly ten months due to protests.

However, the shutdown of Britain’s Buzzard oilfield in the North Sea for planned maintenance and construction work offset the expansion in crude output.

According to a Reuters survey, outages in Africa and sabotage in Iraq are driving OPEC’s supply far below the group’s target, despite the increase in output in April compared with March’s three-month low.


Image: Brent was weighed down by the imminent restart of the eastern Zueitina port. Photo: courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/nuttakit.

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