West Texas Intermediate rose for a second time in three days after an industry report showed crude stockpiles declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user. Brent climbed in London.
Futures advanced as much as 0.4 percent in New York. Crude supplies shrank by 5.5 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report yesterday. Data from the Energy Information Administration today is projected to show inventories slid by 1.55 million, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Kurdish oil exports remain unaffected by the turmoil in Iraq, producer Genel Energy Plc said.
“There is a possibility that the market is starting to develop a bit of a range around here,” said Ric Spooner, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney who predicts investors may sell West Texas contracts if prices climb to about $98.70 a barrel. “Iraq looks to be contained for the short term. Markets are prepared to leave the premium at a relative low on a watching brief basis.”
WTI for September delivery rose as much as 34 cents to $97.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $97.62 at 12:15 p.m. Singapore time. The contract dropped 0.9 percent to $97.38 yesterday, the lowest price since Feb. 5. The volume of all futures traded was about 33 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for September settlement climbed as much as 45 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $105.06 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.36 to WTI. It closed at $7.23 yesterday.
WTI declined 4.1 percent last week amid signs of weaker U.S. fuel demand. Gasoline supplies fell by 3.6 million barrels during the week ended Aug. 1., the API in Washington said, according to Bain Energy. Inventories were probably unchanged at 218.2 million, the survey shows before the EIA report.
Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the biggest oil-storage hub in the U.S., increased by 51,000 barrels, the API was said report. The group collects data on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.
The peak driving season in the U.S. typically starts at the end of May and runs through to Labor Day in September.
Genel Energy, the largest producer in Iraqi Kurdistan, is confident that the region’s independent pipeline exports won’t be impeded by the violence and political turmoil engulfing the country. The regional government has loaded five cargoes in Ceyhan, Turkey, and two have been bought and paid for, Chief Financial Officer Julian Metherell said yesterday.
The conflict has spared supply from Iraq’s south, home to more than three-quarters of its crude output. The nation is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second-largest producer, pumping 3 million barrels a day in July.
In Libya, National Oil Corp. is in talks to resume exports from the Es Sider port, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman for the state-run company. Shipments from the Ras Lanuf terminal will start this week, Elharari said yesterday. The facilities were handed over last month by rebels seeking self-rule in the east of the country, the holder of Africa’s biggest crude reserves. - Bloomberg