Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday after official data showed U.S. crude supplies to have increased for the first time in six weeks.
According to the data released by the Energy Information Administration, crude supplies in the U.S. unexpectedly increased in the week ended September 21, rising by nearly 1.9 million barrels. Analysts were expecting a drop of over 2 million barrels in the week.
The EIA report revealed gasoline stockpiles to have risen 1.5 million barrels last week. It said distillate stockpiles fell by 2.2 million barrels in the week.
On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute released a report that showed crude inventories to have climbed up 2.9 million barrels last week.
Crude oil futures for November ended down $0.71, or about 1%, at $71.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On Tuesday, crude oil futures ended up $0.20, or 0.3%, at $72.28 a barrel.
Oil was gaining in strength in some recent sessions with traders weighing the prospects of a supply shortage due to upcoming U.S. sanctions against Iran.
It is expected that Iran’s crude oil exports will drop to as low as 1 million-1.3 million b/d when further U.S. sanctions on Iran’s energy sector take effect on November 4.
Earlier this week, oil was supported by reports that the OPEC members and top non-OPEC oil producers including Russia were in no rush to increase output.
The Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalild al-Falih brushed aside U.S. President Donald Trump’s call to reduce prices, saying he does not influence prices.