Oil prices extended declines on Thursday after official data showed a larger-than-expected increase in US crude inventories and a surprise build in gasoline stocks. US West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery was down 11 cents at $61.53 a barrel by 0100 GMT after settling down $1.37. New front-month London Brent crude for May delivery was down 16 cents at $64.57, having ended down $1.79. The April contract expired on Wednesday, settling down 85 cents at $65.78.
Some industry sources said Wednesday’s decline was also due to profit-taking by market participants at the end of the month after oil hit a three-week high earlier this week.
US crude inventories rose by 3 million barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a build of 2.1 million barrels, weekly data by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.
Gasoline stocks also rose by 2.5 million barrels against expectations for a 190,000-barrel drop, which pushed gasoline futures sharply lower. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 709,000-barrel drop.
Soaring US production has kept a lid on oil prices this year, even though the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia have reduced output.
US crude oil production rose to a record 10.057 million barrels per day (bpd) in November and retreated slightly in December to 9.949 million bpd, the EIA said on Wednesday.
OPEC oil output fell in February to a 10-month low as the United Arab Emirates joined other Gulf members in over-delivering on a supply reduction pact, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday, pushing compliance with the deal to its highest at 149 percent.