Oil prices dropped yesterday on worries that the approaching of refinery maintenance season would reduce crude consumption.

Brent crude dropped by 35 cents to $108.44 a barrel, while US oil was down by 68 cents to $99.69, reported Reuters.

Crude futures were weighed down as the US refiners move into their maintenance season.

Citgo Petroleum has also started shut-down of its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, for maintenance planned to last about 35 days.

The expectations for dwindling seasonal demand in the US for heating fuels also helped curb gains.

But the losses were limited due to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data and record crude imports by China in January.

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By GlobalData

EIA data revealed that the Gulf Coast pipeline, which is owned by TransCanada, began to drain oil from benchmark delivery point Cushing, Oklahoma.

"Crude futures were weighed down as the US refiners move into their maintenance season."

EIA data also showed that stocks at the Cushing delivery point fell by 2.7 million barrels last week.

Brent trading was focused in part on crude oil imports in China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, which rose 11.9% in January from a year earlier.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which raised its 2014 outlook for world oil demand by 40,000bpd, expects that demand for oil will grow this year.

Image: Demand for crude is expected to decrease as refiners head into maintenance season. Photo: courtesy of Rawich.