NEW YORK – The price of oil slipped Wednesday as a government report showed U.S. oil supplies rose more than expected last week.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery fell 31 cents to close at US$101.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the Nymex contract fell $1.90 a barrel.
Brent crude, an international benchmark, fell 16 cents to US$109.11 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said oil supplies rose 3.5 million barrels in the week ended April 18. That exceeded the expectations of analysts surveyed by Platts, who forecast an increase of 3.1 million barrels. At a record 397.7 million barrels, supplies are now 2.3 per cent above year-ago levels.
Lending some support to prices were continued tensions in Ukraine, where the acting president ordered security forces to resume operations in the country’s east against pro-Russian insurgents demanding closer ties with Russia, and Libya’s inability to normalize its oil exports.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, wholesale gasoline was flat at US$3.09 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil fell two cents to US$2.98 a gallon and natural gas slipped one cent to US$4.73 per 1,000 cubic feet.