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Oil Prices Hold Steady Despite Rising Fuel Stocks

Crude oil prices hesitated today after the Energy Information Administration reported an oil inventory draw of 700,000 barrels for the week to November 27 but a sizeable build in gasoline inventories.

At 488 million barrels, crude oil inventories are still above the five-year average for the season, by about 7 percent.

A day before the EIA released its latest weekly inventory numbers, the American petroleum Institute caused an oil price rally arrest by reporting an inventory build of over 4 million barrels for last week.

This added to pressure coming from OPEC+ which unexpectedly delayed a meeting that should have ended with a decision on whether or not to extend current production cuts of 7.7 million bpd until at least the end of the first quarter of 2021.

In gasoline, the EIA reported an inventory build of 3.5 million barrels for last week, with production averaging 8.6 million bpd. This compared with a build of 2.2 million bpd a week earlier in inventories, and average production of 8.9 million bpd.

In distillate fuels, the EIA reported an inventory increase of 3.2 million barrels for the week to November 27, with average production at 4.6 million bpd. This compared with a draw of 1.4 million barrels for the previous week and production of 4.6 million bpd.

The EIA also said refineries processed 14 million barrels daily last week, down from a week ago.

Meanwhile, OPEC+ internal discord is threatening a historic deal that stopped the free fall of oil prices in the spring, when lockdowns pushed benchmarks to multi-year lows.

According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, not everyone in the extended cartel agreed that they should maintain oil production at current levels, with Russia notably proposing an easing of the current cuts of 7.7 million bpd by half a million bpd monthly beginning in January. The decision has been postponed for tomorrow.

At the time of writing, Brent crude traded at $47.63 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate traded at $44.78 a barrel, both slightly up from the opening of trade today.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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