Oil Falls to One-Month Low After U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Oil slipped to the lowest level in nearly a month after expanding American stockpiles overshadowed tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a prominent kingdom critic.

Futures fell 1.6 percent in New York. U.S. inventories rose 6.49 million barrels last week, according to government data released Wednesday, more than twice the amount forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Even as the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi kept the market on edge, President Donald Trump cautioned against putting the entire U.S.-Saudi relationship at risk.

“It seems as if things have kind of calmed down” said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy. “I think we’ve endured a correction in the market and concerns surrounding lost Iranian barrels will re-emerge and the market will stabilize.”

Oil Falls to One-Month Low After U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge

Crude jumped earlier this month as uncertainty persisted over whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies can offset supply losses from Iran after sanctions start in November. The gains were supported by U.S.-Saudi tensions after Trump pledged “severe punishment” should the kingdom be linked to Khashoggi’s disappearance. Still, expanding stockpiles and demand concerns have pegged prices back from a four-year high.

“Stocks are rising in the U.S., and the reason is because pipes out of the U.S. for exports are maxed out while U.S. production is rising,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, Oslo-based chief commodities analyst at SEB AB.

West Texas Intermediate for November delivery fell $1.10 to end the session at $68.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December futures settled 6 cents higher, the first time since May the spread between the first two contracts was in contango, where prompt-delivery oil is less expensive than deferred contracts.

Brent for December delivery fell 76 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $79.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark was at a $10.58 premium to WTI for the same month.

Crude stockpiles in the U.S. have risen for four straight weeks, the longest run of gains since early 2017. Inventories in the storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, also increased by 1.78 million barrels last week to more than 28 million barrels, the highest level in almost four months.

Other oil-market news:
  • Gasoline futures fell 1.4 percent to close at $1.8911 a gallon.
  • BP Plc started an oil project in the Gulf of Mexico four months ahead of schedule and 15 percent below budget, helping boost production and generating more cash.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. is targeting western and southern Africa for the world’s next big oil bonanza as the explorer scours the globe to repeat its success in Guyana.

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