National Average Price for Regular Unleaded – Current: $2.811; Month Ago: $2.492; Year Ago: $2.696. National Average Price for Diesel – Current: $3.056; Month Ago: $3.007; Year Ago: $2.990.
Crude had risen since late last week as tensions in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, led to the halt of production at two Kirkuk fields. The resulting export curbs pushed oil in the U.S. to a three-week high on Wednesday but Brent has failed to breach last month’s peak and dropped below $58 following the inventory data. Prices reflect “oil bulls taking profit after the supply disruption in Iraq failed to drive Brent to new highs,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “It’s a classic risk-off move. On balance, I believe yesterday’s EIA report was net bearish.” U.S. gasoline inventories expanded by 908,000 barrels last week, while distillate supplies climbed to 134.5 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. Refinery utilization slipped as plants including Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Joliet refinery in Illinois were said to carry out maintenance. Click Read More below for additional information.
Brent crude for December was down 30 cents at $48.41 a barrel by 0950 GMT. U.S. crude futures for December delivery were down 65 cents to $45.64 a barrel. Investors awaited official oil inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, due at 10:30 a.m. ET (1430 GMT) to see if they confirmed the API data. A Reuters poll of analysts forecast the EIA would report a build in crude stocks for a fourth straight week. [EIA/S] "We’ve seen inventories build for the last three weeks now, which has helped ensure oil prices remain quite heavy," Oanda market analyst Craig Erlam said in a note.