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Oil Prices Plunge After API Reports Significant Build To U.S. Crude Stocks

Natural gas storage

American crude oil supplies surged upwards by 4.8 million barrels this week, almost completely offsetting last week’s 5.2-million-barrel draw, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) report released on Tuesday.

This week’s inventory build will likely press further down on oil prices, which were already trading down on the market’s increasing uneasiness over the OPEC drama, including Iraq’s OPEC rebellion, Russia’s vague and vacillating comments as to whether they’ll join in a freeze or a cut, and Venezuela’s pleas to get non-OPEC members to cut in proportion to the bloc’s to-be-determined limits.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price settled to three-week lows once the report went public Tuesday afternoon. At the time of the report’s writing, WTI stood at $49.30 – down 2.41 percent from the day’s start, while Brent fell to $50.29, or 2.27 percent from the open.

Experts had predicted an inventory build of two million barrels of crude, according to Zero Hedge.

Gasoline inventories rose by 1.7 million barrels, against an anticipated draw of one million barrels.

Tomorrow’s official inventory report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will add to the volatility, particularly if the numbers stray far from API’s data.

Supplies at the Cushing storage facility in Oklahoma decreased by 2.3 million barrels, instead of the modest 500,000-barrel draw that analysts expected, the report said.

Six of the past seven weeks have seen notable crude supply draws, with the current build breaking the streak.

“You’ve gone from a very optimistic sentiment immediately following the Algiers announcement to a sentiment that’s more skeptical of the ability of OPEC to pull off a meaningful cut,” Paul Crovo of the Philadelphia-based consulting company by PNC Capital, told Zero Hedge.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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