By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 8 -- Energy futures markets continued a seesaw trend as oil prices fell Wednesday in the wake of bullish reports of draws on US crude inventories that failed to satisfy traders' expectations.
US Department of Energy officials early Wednesday reported US crude stocks were reduced by 2.1 million bbl last week. The American Petroleum Institute was even more bullish in its report issued late Tuesday, putting the draw at nearly 3.9 million bbl with 305.1 million bbl remaining in stock last week.
However, DOE reported US gasoline inventories increased by 900,000 bbl, compared to a rise of 194,000 bbl to 212.8 million bbl reported by API. DOE said US distillate stocks increased by 700,000 bbl, while API logged a jump of 1.7 million bbl to 134.5 million bbl.
Traders generally ignored the draw of US oil from inventory because it was concentrated primarily on the West Coast instead of the key consumer East Coast area, analysts said.
Unleaded gasoline led Wednesday's decline on the New York Mercantile Exchange where the September contract fell 2.01¢ to 75.46¢/gal. Heating oil for the same month dropped 1.17¢ to 66.61¢/gal.
The September contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes fell 67¢ to $26.50/bbl Wednesday, while the October position was down 55¢ to $26.06/bbl. The September natural gas position also lost 5.6¢ to $2.66/Mcf.
All of those declines Wednesday on NYMEX commodities wiped out the previous day's gains, with the sole exception of the October oil contract, which managed a net 3¢ gain over the two trading sessions.
In London, the September contract for North Sea Brent crude fell 58¢ to $24.95/bbl, eliminating most of a 64¢ increase during the previous session of the International Petroleum Exchange. The September natural gas contract continued its decline, falling 5.8¢ to the equivalent of $1.89/Mcf on the IPE.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven benchmark crudes dropped 19¢ to $24.75/bbl on Wednesday.