Oil Prices Retain Gains as U.S. Stockpiles Fall

Oil prices made headway on Wednesday, supported by a big drop in U.S. commercial crude inventories last week and the loss of storage capacity in Libya.

However, futures remained volatile as traders parsed comments from oil ministers ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries which may increase global production.

Benchmark Brent crude was up 28 cents at $75.36 U.S. a barrel mid-morning Wednesday. U.S. light crude rose 80 cents, or 1.2%, at $65.70.

Data released Wednesday morning by the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels in the week to June 15. That exceeded the three-million-barrel drop reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday.

Traders said a drop in Libyan supplies due to the collapse of an estimated 400,000-barrel storage tank also helped push up prices..

Looming large over markets, however, were OPEC meetings on June 22-23 in Vienna with other big producers, including Russia

Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia, which is not a member of the cartel but is the world's biggest oil producer, are pushing to loosen supply controls introduced in 2017 to prop up prices.

Other OPEC-members, including Iran, are against such a move, fearing a sharp slump in prices.