The price of oil dropped from a seven-week high after crude stockpiles in the US rose as refiners cut processing, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for September 2009 delivery fell as much as $0.78, or 1.1%, to $71.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $71.37 at 11.32am Singapore time.

On 5 August the contract rose $0.55, or 0.8%, to settle at $71.97.

A US Energy Department report released yesterday revealed a bigger-than-estimated gain in crude stockpiles, pushing them to a five-week high. The US refiners used 84.5% of their capacity in the previous week, the lowest in more than two months, the Energy Department said.

The oil price rose yesterday after the Energy Department report showed that distillate supplies fell. Fuel demand was up 3.1% to 19.3 million barrels a day in the previous week, the highest since February 2009.

About four-fifths of that gain came under the ‘other oils’ category, which includes natural gas liquids such as butane and liquefied refinery gases.

Brent crude oil for September 2009 settlement declined as much as $0.72, or 1%, to $74.79 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe Exchange, and traded at $74.88 at 11.32am in Singapore. Yesterday, it gained $1.23, or 1.7%, to $75.51.