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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise build of 1.099 million barrels of United States crude oil inventories for the week ending April 20, contrary to analyst expectations that this week would see a draw in crude oil inventories of 2.648 million barrels.
A survey of S&P Global Platts for the week expected crude oil stocks to drop by 1.1 million barrels.
Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a draw of 1.047 million barrels of crude oil.
The API reported a draw for gasoline inventories for week ending April 20, in the amount of of 2.724 million—a bigger draw than the 995,000-barrel one that analysts had expected.
Brent oil prices topped $75 in early trading on Tuesday with WTI approaching $70 a barrel as the market feared the chance of renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran is growing and as Tehran rhetoric flared up. At 07:45 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, WTI Crude was up 0.23 percent at $68.80 and Brent Crude was up 0.04 percent at $74.04.
Brent topped $75 a barrel at one point on Tuesday, for the first time since November 2014, and according to analysts, the possibility of sanctions on Iran has been the most significant driver of the oil price rally in recent weeks—the other being the virtually eliminated global oil glut combined with robust oil demand growth.
US crude oil production, for its part, is even more grim, which for the week ending April 13 increased to 10.540 million bpd, well on its way to 11 million bpd.
Distillate inventories saw another draw this week of 1.911 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a slightly smaller decline of 807,000 barrels.
Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, fell this week, with the API reporting a 930,000-barrel draw.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30a.m. EST.
By 4:37pm EST, the WTI benchmark was trading down 1.18 percent on the day to $67.93 while Brent was trading down 1.07 percent at $73.22.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.