Source AP ©

Oil prices steady below USD 68 a barrel ahead of US fuel stocks data

Oil prices were steady in Asia Wednesday as traders awaited the release of a U.S. government inventory report expected to show increases in supplies of crude, gasoline and distillates.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery lost 6 cents to US$67.71 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, midmorning in Singapore. The contract fell US$1.41 to settle at US$67.77 a barrel Tuesday.

"Prices already factor in the builds. Now traders don't want to move until they see the data," said Koichi Murakami, an analyst with brokerage Daiichi Shohin in Tokyo.

The U.S. Energy Department's weekly petroleum supply snapshot has been watched closely during a spring and early summer in which an unusually high number of refinery outages have led to high oil and gasoline futures prices and record U.S. gasoline pump prices.

The report, due later Wednesday in the U.S., was expected to show that gasoline inventories rose 1.1 million barrels in the week ended June 22, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts.

Analysts also predicted that crude oil inventories rose 1 million barrels last week, and that distillate stocks, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose 200,000 barrels. Refinery utilization, which fell 1.6 percent last week, was expected to rebound by 0.8 percentage points to 88.4 percent.

The market was little affected by news Tuesday that ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. refused a Venezuelan government offer to keep pumping oil in the country under less profitable terms, analysts said.

The two companies refused to work as junior partners to Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Analysts said their departure from one of the world's largest oil deposits would not cause oil shortages or higher U.S. pump prices since production will likely shift to other companies.

August Brent crude slipped 16 cents to US$70.09 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

July heating oil futures on Nymex fell .08 cent to US$1.9925 a gallon (3.8 liters), and natural gas for July delivery fell 1.7 cents US$6.860 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Comments
Moving inexorably towards war
Malaysia complains of faulty Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
The Amazon and the New Conquistadores
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Without INF Treaty, USA can destroy Russian nuclear weapons easily
Malaysia complains of faulty Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets
Without INF Treaty, USA can destroy Russian nuclear weapons easily
USA plays to pretend a mighty dragon that can no longer breathe fire
USA plays to pretend a mighty dragon that can no longer breathe fire
Putin sees no drama if Russia misses Davos forum
Macron challenges Trump. French independence and croissants at stake
Putin's three days in Singapore mark Russia's major geopolitical changes since 2000
Putin's three days in Singapore mark Russia's major geopolitical changes since 2000
Moving inexorably towards war
Putin dislikes the idea of US army bases coming to Kuril Islands
Putin dislikes the idea of US army bases coming to Kuril Islands
Putin sees no drama if Russia misses Davos forum
How can Americans and Russians understand each other?
How can Americans and Russians understand each other?