Crude oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday, pushing the most active crude futures contracts to their lowest close in about three weeks, after data showed a larger than expected increase in crude inventories last week.
The International Energy Agency’s decision to release 120 million barrels of oil from its reserves weighed as well on oil prices.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down by $5.73 or about 5.6% at $96.23 a barrel.
Brent crude futures drifted down $4.70 or about 4.5% to $101.94 a barrel.
The IEA said that out of the 120 million barrels from its release will come from the United States. According to reports, the 60 million barrels of the U.S. share is part of the 180 million barrels release the Biden administration had announced last week.
Data released by Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed crude inventories in the U.S. rose by 2.421 million barrels in the week ended April 1.
Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 2.04 million barrels last week, as against forecasts for a build of 63,000 barrels. Distillate stockpiles were up by 771,000 barrels last week, as against expectations for a draw of 0.819 million barrels.
the American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated on Tuesday a surprise U.S crude oil inventory build of 1.08 million barrels for the week ended April 1.
The API also reportedly showed a weekly inventory decline of 543,000 barrels for gasoline, while distillate stockpiles rose by 593,000 barrels.