Oil Prices Soar on Correspondence Stockpile Plunge

Drivers and home owners are starting to feel the pinch, as oil prices resume their climb.

Prices for petroleum turned higher on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed the nation's stockpiles of crude oil and refined fuels went significantly downward last week.

Data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories fell by 9.6 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 309,000 barrels. The draw was the largest since July 2018.

EIA data also revealed gasoline stocks fell by 4.6 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a 2.4-million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 4.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel drop.

International Brent crude oil futures were up 27 cents at $67.88 U.S. a barrel mid-morning Wednesday. Brent on Tuesday touched its highest since Nov. 16 at $68.20 U.S. a barrel.

Crude futures have drawn support this week from ongoing supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. However, analysts said concerns over economic growth are weighing on the market and capping gains.

Crude prices have risen by almost a third this year, pushed up by a move led by OPEC to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply as well as by U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela.