Crude oil futures settled moderately higher on Thursday, with traders weighing the possible impact on global supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Oil prices rose sharply earlier in the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a war on Ukraine and launched a full-scale invasion. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas and one of the world’s largest oil-producing nations.
However, data showing an increase in U.S. crude supplies in the week ended February 18th dragged down oil prices from higher levels.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who has vowed steep sanctions against Russia for its Ukraine invasion, said the United States is working with oil producers to secure global energy supplies.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up by $0.71 or about 0.8% at $92.81 a barrel, climbing down from a high of $100.54 a barrel.
Brent crude futures climbed above $105 a barrel before paring gains.
Data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) today showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose sharply, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell last week.
The data said crude inventories in the U.S. increased by 4.5 million barrels last week to 416 million barrels. The increase was substantially bigger than the expected rise of 400,000 barrels.
The data also said crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub and delivery point for U.S. crude futures dropped by 2 million barrels to 23.8 million barrels in the week, hitting the lowest level since September 18.
The EIA data said U.S. gasoline stocks fell by about 600,000 barrels last week, less than an expected drop of about 1.4 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles dropped by 600,000 barrels, less than an expected fall of 1.8 million barrels.
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