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Oil Inches Higher In Spite Of EIA Reported Inventory Builds

After the API yesterday reported a 3.65-million-barrel increase in crude oil inventories and WTI remained relatively stable, the EIA has thrown in an official build/decline in inventories sure to strengthen prices/rattle the market.

The agency reported an increase of 5.3 million barrels for the week to November 11, to a total of 490.3 million barrels.

Last week, the EIA reported another substantial hike in commercial inventories, of 2.4 million barrels, the second week of notable increases. Still, WTI proved resilient, not least because of president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to support the oil and gas industry, but also because the huge build from the previous week turned out to be a result of a correction in imports reporting.

Gasoline stockpiles at the end of last week rose by 700,000 million barrels, the EIA also said, with refineries processing 16.1 million barrels of crude daily, producing 10.2 million barrels of gasoline. The stockpiles of the most popular fuel were above the upper limit for this time of year, the EIA noted, without providing reference figures.

Benchmark oil prices had jumped earlier today on renewed hopes that OPEC will get it together and agree a production cut, but later in the day, European trading lost some of that momentum as traders took profits on the higher prices and stayed put in expectation of news from OPEC.

Related: Trump Considers Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm for Energy Dept.

To make things more interesting for oil prices and everyone following them, yesterday Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister, Khalid Falih, warned the U.S. president-elect not to work towards eliminating oil imports because “blocking trade in any product is not healthy.” Al-Falih added that the free trade energy culture currently in place benefits the United States because it has created a refining industry and ignited a job-hungry shale revolution.

Also yesterday, BP’s CEO Bob Dudley admitted the oil market is the opposite of optimistic about OPEC’s production cut deal, just like most industry observers. Dudley predicted that prices will stay at current levels if the deal falls through.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at US$47.43 a barrel and WTI was at US$46.29 a barrel.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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