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Crude oil prices fell on Thursday after rising on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Brent retreating shortly before reaching $98 per barrel.
The price of a Brent barrel sank 1.69% on Thursday by 2:58 pm ET, a $1.63 loss on the day to $94.92. The November contract for WTI fell $2.10 per barrel (-2.24%) to $91.58, after reaching $94.89 on Wednesday following the EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report that showed a 2.2 million barrel decline in U.S. crude oil inventories for the week ending September 22, in tandem with a drop in crude inventories stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, to levels not seen since the summer of 2022.
The drop in Cushing inventories sent the industry into a short-lived mini panic about supplies running low—a panic that had run its course by Thursday afternoon, with prices indicating that it was in need of a correction.
Inventories at Cushing are now at 21.958 million barrels, according to the EIA’s latest data—a small amount for tanks that can hold near 100 million barrels. Some have suggested that when tanks near 10%-20% of that capacity, it is nearing operational lows, making it difficult to physically withdraw from tanks as it is like literally scraping the sludgy bottom of the barrel.
While inventories at Cushing are at their lowest since last summer, Wednesday’s WTI price was the highest since last summer, and a $26 per barrel increase in just the three months since June 27.
Despite Thursday’s fall in prices, WTI and Brent are still trading up roughly $10 per barrel since the end of August, and analysts are expecting oil prices to hold on market fears about further OPEC supply cuts as we head into winter—with some suggesting that oil is still heading to $100 per barrel.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.