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Oil Prices Tick Lower After EIA Reports Crude Draw, Gasoline Build

Crude oil prices fell slightly after the Energy Information Administration reported yet another inventory draw, of 3.5 million barrels, for the week to September 17.

This compared with a hefty draw of 6.4 million barrels for the previous week and an estimated 6.1-million-barrel inventory decline for the week to September 17, as reported by the American Petroleum Institute.

The latest inventory movements are probably related to the damage Gulf Coast refineries suffered from Hurricane Ida, meaning they do not necessarily reflect any major changes in demand. Even so, they are likely to move prices due to the size of the inventory change.

In gasoline, the EIA reported a build in stockpiles of 3.5 million barrels for the week to September 17, which compared with a draw of 1.9 million barrels for the previous week.

Gasoline production averaged 9.6 million bpd last week, which compared with 9.3 million bpd a week earlier.

Middle distillate inventories shed 2.6 million barrels in the week to September 17, which compared with a decline of 1.7 million bpd for the previous week.

Middle distillate production averaged 4.5 million bpd last week, which compared with 4.2 million bpd a week earlier.

Oil prices have been on the rise since the start of this week as the gas crunch in Europe led to talk—and evidence—of the possibility for a switch from gas to oil in certain industrial operations in both Asia and Europe, which in turn led to expectations of higher oil prices.

Meanwhile, OPEC+ appears to be finding it challenging to boost production in time with demand growth. Underinvestment and maintenance work in some OPEC+ members were behind the struggle, according to a Reuters report. This comes at a time when U.S. production is also constrained by the effects of Hurricane Ida.

Brent crude traded at $75.65 per barrel at the time of writing, with West Texas Intermediate changing hands at $71.71 a barrel, both up from opening.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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