Oil prices steady as market weighs on fuel inventories due to supply issues


Oil pump cylinders are seen at the Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas field in the Patagonian province of Neuquen, Argentina January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

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HOUSTON, June 29 (Reuters) – Oil prices were little changed on Thursday as markets weighed on rising U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories and worries about slowing economic growth amid oil shortages. ‘supply.

Brent crude futures for August fell 25 cents, or 0.2%, to $116.01 a barrel in light trading, with the August contract set to expire on Thursday. The more active September contract was at $112.18, down 27 cents, or 0.2%.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 19 cents, or 0.2%, to $109.58 a barrel.

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Both contracts fell about 2% on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude inventories fell last week even as production hit its highest level since April 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fuel inventories rose as refiners ramped up operations, operating at 95% capacity, the highest level for this time of year in four years.

A stronger dollar has also put pressure on prices as it makes oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Prices still found some support on concerns about supply issues.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and OPEC+, which includes allies such as Russia, began two days of meetings on Wednesday with sources saying there was little chance of pumping more oil. Read more

Across the world in Ecuador, spreading anti-government protests have hurt oil production, forcing a force majeure declaration on exports of Ecuador’s flagship Oriente. Read more

Uncertainty in global oil and gas markets could linger for some time as available capacity is very low as demand continues to recover, said Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell PLC (SHEL.L ).

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Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston

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