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Oil Prices Inch Lower After API Reports Minor Crude Draw

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a draw of 1.17 million barrels of United States crude oil inventories for the week ending September 1, compared to analyst expectations that this week would see a draw in crude oil inventories of 1.29 million barrels. Other analysts had anticipated a 2.9 million barrel draw.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise build of 38,000 barrels of crude oil.

The API reported a build in gasoline inventories for week ending September 1 in the amount of 1 million barrels. Analysts predicted a draw of 81,000 barrels.

Oil prices were trading down in mid-afternoon trading prior to the release of the API data on inventories. At 3:43pm EDT, WTI was trading down 1.47% (-$1.03) at $68.84 per barrel—relatively flat week on week. Brent crude was also trading down 1.16% (-$0.91) at $77.26 per barrel--$1.00 over last week’s figures.

Wednesday’s falling prices—the lowest of the week, in fact—were largely the result of tropical storm Gordon that ripped through the Gulf of Mexico without much disruption to energy infrastructure. Despite the fact that Gordon did claim at least one life, it managed to miss nearly every oil and gas operation in the GoM.

Also weighing on prices is Iran’s persistence in finding future markets for its oil come November when US sanctions against Tehran go into full effect. On Wednesday, Tehran reported that Europe was looking to open bank accounts in Europe for Iran to deposit oil revenues and secure Iranian oil exports.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration was unchanged for the week at 11.0 million bpd for the week ending August 24.

Distillate inventories were also up this week—by 1.8 million barrels, compared to an expected build of 742,000 barrels. Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma site increased this week by 613,000 barrels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on crude oil inventories is due to be released on Thursday at 11:00a.m. EDT.

By 4:45pm EDT, WTI was trading at $68.66 and Brent was trading at $77.11.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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