Crude oil prices seen steady in Asia ahead of API estimates

U.S. two-dollar billsPhoto by Leslie Shaffer

Crude oil prices in Asia are seen steady on Tuesday as the market awaits industry estimates of U.S. inventories of crude and refined products.

ICE Brent crude oil futures settled up 0.53 percent to US$72.21 a barrel on Monday, while NYMEX West Texas Intermediate gained 0.79 percent to US$65.43 a barrel.

The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to publish its weekly update on U.S. oil supplies at 4:30 pm U.S. EDT.

Estimates from for this week see a 1.533 million barrels draw in crude supplies and a 1.167 million barrels build in distillate inventories, with a 838,000 barrels decline in gasoline stocks expected.

On Wednesday, August 22, the Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly report on oil stockpiles at 10:30 am U.S. EDT.

Overnight, China, seeking to skirt U.S. sanctions, will use oil tankers from Iran for its purchases of that country’s crude, throwing Tehran a lifeline while European companies such as France’s Total are walking away due to fear of reprisals from Washington ahead of U.S sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering 11 million barrels of oil for sale from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve ahead of the sanctions that are expected to reduce global supplies of crude. The delivery period for the proposed sale of sour crudes will be Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, according to a notice.

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in June rose to 7.240 million barrels per day (bpd) from 6.980 million bpd in May, official data showed on Monday. Monthly export figures are provided by Riyadh and other members of OPEC to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), which published them on its website.