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Oil prices fell today as investors worried that US commercial crude stocks are expected to rise with signs of winter fading, which could lead to a decrease in demand for heating fuel.

Brent crude dropped by 19 cents to $110.45 a barrel, while US oil was down by 44 cents to $102.39, reported Reuters.

According to Reuters’s latest survey, US commercial crude stocks were expected to rise by 1.4 million barrels on average for the week ending 21 February.

The survey revealed that stocks of heating oil and diesel fuels were forecast to drop by 1.5 million barrels on average last week.

Investors are waiting for the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly inventory reports.

Crude prices were under pressure as upcoming summer maintenance in US and North Sea refineries is likely to cause stockpiles to accumulate.

But analysts believe that a steep fall in crude is unlikely with worries of further supply disruption continuing due to ongoing unrest in Libya, South Sudan and Nigeria.

"The Government of Libya introduced spending caps as some ministries struggled to pay their bills."

Libyan production plunged further over the weekend, falling to 230,000bpd on Sunday after new protests led to the shut down of the El Sharara field.

The Government of Libya introduced spending caps as some ministries struggled to pay their bills.

Brent prices received more support as South Sudan’s oil production dropped to around a third of its capacity at 170,000bpd.


Image: The severe chill over the US and Europe is likely to cut demand for oil. Photo: courtesy of Victor Habbick.

Energy