The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark in the US held steady today thanks to support from yesterday’s US inventories data.
The closely watched weekly report from the Department of Energy revealed a drop of 3.7 million barrels in America’s crude stocks compared with the 1.5 million barrel drop projected by Platts.
Earlier in the week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said oil inventories in the US climbed 2.8 million barrels.
Meanwhile, Brent crude dropped today as investors took profits following yesterday’s rally, which saw Brent futures top US$116 per barrel on expectations of a decline in oil supplies from the North Sea.
Brent was also pressured by today’s weak Chinese and US data.
This morning, china reported that its foreign direct investment slumped 8.7 percent year on year in July, which was blamed on the euro zone debt crisis.
Later in the day, the Department of Labor said initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to 366,000 last week and the Commerce Department reported a 1.1 percent drop in housing starts in July, adding to concerns about the strength of the US recovery.
US light, sweet crude for September delivery, currently the most actively traded contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), rose six cents to US$94.39/barrel this afternoon.
September Brent crude dropped 58 cents to US$115.67/barrel on the ICE Exchange.
Today’s top risers in the oil and gas sector were:
Aurelian Oil & Gas (LON:AUL), up 7.5 percent at 10.25 pence at midday
Trap Oil (LON:TRAP), up 7 percent at 18.6 pence
PetroNeft Resources (LON:PTR), up 6.5 percent at 7.6 pence
Sound Oil (LON:SOU), up 5.5 percent at 0.607 pence
Matra Petroleum (LON:MTA), up 5.5 percent at 1.9 pence
Desire Petroleum (LON:DES), up 4.5 percent at 23.68 pence
The top fallers were:
Gasol (LON:GAS), down 7 percent at 0.51 pence at midday
Oilex (LON:OEX), down 6 percent at 5.5 pence
Silvermere Energy (LON:SLME), down 6 percent at 10.8 pence
Europa Oil & Gas (LON:EOG), down 3.5 percent at 6 pence
Cadogan Petroleum (LON:CAD), down 3 percent at 20.5 pence