Crude oil prices were narrowly mixed ahead of the Asian trading session on Wednesday after industry estimates of U.S. inventories unexpectedly rose.
ICE Brent crude futures eased 0.38 percent to US$75.92 a barrel, while NYMEX West Texas Intermediate edged up 0.01 percent to US$68.54 a barrel. Brent crude oil futures settled down 0.34 percent to US$75.95 a barrel, while WTI eased 0.49 percent to US$68.53 a barrel on Tuesday.
The American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday said US crude inventories rose by 38,000 barrels last week to 405.7 million, compared to an expected decrease of 686,000 barrels. Supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 130,000 barrels.
Refinery crude runs fell by 343,000 barrels per day (bpd), while gasoline stocks rose by 21,000 barrels, less than the 370,000-barrel gain expected, API said. Distillates rose by 982,000 barrels, less than the 1.6 million-barrel gain seen.
US crude imports fell last week by 5,000 bpd to 8.4 million bpd.
The Energy Information Administration releases official data on weekly crude and refined product inventories at 10:30 am US EDT Wednesday.
OPEC member Iran’s crude oil and condensate exports in August are set to drop below 70 million barrels for the first time since April 2017, according to shipping brokers. Crude and condensate loaded in Iran this month is estimated at 64 million barrels, or 2.06 million bpd.