Stockpiles Surge, Oil Prices Slip

Prices for petroleum edged lower on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed a surge in fuel stockpiles, with worries about the global economy and forecasts of swelling U.S. crude production also hurting sentiment.

Brent crude oil futures fell 37 cents to $60.27 U.S. per barrel mid-morning Wednesday, up one cent. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 45 cents, or nearly 1%, at $51.66 U.S. a barrel.

Futures had ticked slightly lower after data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed that crude stockpiles fell by 2.7 million barrels last week, while fuel inventories were sharply higher.

Stocks of gasoline increased by 7.5 million barrels, while inventories of distillates, including diesel and heating fuel, jumped by three million barrels.

EIA also said Tuesday that U.S. crude output is expected to rise to a new record of more than 12 million barrels per day this year, adding that the U.S. will become a net crude exporter in late 2020.

The forecast could undermine oil markets which have been receiving support from supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, including top exporter Saudi Arabia, and major non-OPEC producer Russia.