Oil futures pulled back Wednesday as investors awaited an official read on U.S. petroleum inventories after industry data showed a rise in crude and gasoline stocks.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that natural-gas flows to Europe will resume via the Nord Stream pipeline but could continue to see curbs unless a dispute over sanctioned parts is resolved.
West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery
fell $1.30, or 1.3%, to $99.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The most actively traded September contract
shed $1.43, or 1.4%, to $99.31 a barrel.
August natural gas
rose 2.1% to $7.301 per million British thermal units.
Oil bounced solidly on Tuesday, appearing to take its cue from sharp gains for equities, analysts said.
“Fundamentally, there was very little in the way of fresh drivers for the crude market,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
Nearby Brent futures contracts have surged relative to later dated contracts, with the spread between the September and October
contract widening to nearly $4.50 a barrel, “highlighting the tightness that still persists in the oil market,” Patterson said.
But the U.S. supply picture was expected to be in focus on Thursday.
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 1.9 million barrels for the week ended July 15, according to sources. The API data also reportedly showed a weekly inventory climb of 1.3 million barrels for gasoline and a supply decline of nearly 2.2 million barrels for distillates. Oil stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub were up by 523,000 barrels last week, sources said.
Official inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released on Wednesday morning. On average, analysts polled by S&P Global Commodity Insights said the EIA is expected to show weekly crude inventories down by 200,000 barrels, along with supply increases of 400,000 barrels for gasoline and 800,000 barrels for distillates.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s executive office on Wednesday proposed that member states cut their gas use by 15% over the coming months to ensure that any full Russian cutoff of natural gas supplies to the bloc won’t fundamentally disrupt industries next winter.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.