NEW YORK: Oil prices fell more than 1% on Thursday despite a sharp drop in US crude inventories, as market participants took profits following days of buying spurred by a cold snap in the largest US energy-producing state. Brent crude fell 72 cents, or 1.1%, to $63.62 a barrel. During the session it rose as high as $65.52, its highest since January 2020.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 89 cents, or 1.5%, to $60.25 a barrel, after earlier reaching $62.26, the highest since January 2020. Brent had gained for four straight sessions before Thursday, while WTI had risen for three.
“The market probably got a little bit ahead of itself,” said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Though some Texas households had power restored on Thursday, the state entered its sixth day of a cold freeze. It has grappled with refining outages and oil and gas shut-ins that rippled beyond its border into Mexico.
The weather has shut in about one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity and closed oil and natural gas production across the state.
“The temporary outage will help to accelerate US oil inventories down towards the five-year average quicker than expected,” SEB chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop said.
Prices fell despite a sharp drop in US oil inventories. Crude stockpiles fell by 7.3 million barrels in the week to Feb. 12, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday, compared with analysts’ expectations for an decrease of 2.4 million barrels. Crude exports rose to 3.9 million barrels per day, the highest since March, EIA said.
“The big nugget was the big jump in exports of crude oil,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.
Oil’s rally in recent months has also been supported by a tightening of global supplies, due largely to production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers in the OPEC+ grouping, which includes Russia. OPEC+ sources told Reuters the group’s producers are likely to ease curbs on supply after April given the recovery in prices.