Crude oil and refined product futures traded in wide ranges Wednesday morning on continued reports of disagreements between OPEC+ members and unexpected weekly U.S. supply and demand data from the Energy Information Administration.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded between $75.67/bbl and $77.88/bbl in the morning session on fresh OPEC headlines.
Prices rose to a morning high on speculation the cartel will extend or increase current output cuts when it meets on Thursday.
But reports of discord between Saudi Arabia and several African OPEC members led to a mid-morning selloff, before recovering some.
The NYMEX January WTI contract was up 87cts to $77.28/bbl at midday. Brent crude was 73cts higher at $82.41/bbl.
EIA's crude numbers were mixed. The agency reported a modest 1.6-million-bbl stock build in the week ended Friday, but that was offset by a 515,000 b/d increase in U.S. refinery input.
Some market sources believe autumn builds in crude stocks will give way to lighter inventory unless the OPEC+ ends in discord.
Refined products futures were mixed at midday after they also traded in a wide morning range.
EIA reported distillate inventories rose by 5.2 million bbl last week thanks to a 3.014 million b/d drop in demand.
While that number may be something of an outlier, it led ULSD futures to fall by 8 to 9cts/gal. Buyers stepped in, leaving the NYMEX January ULSD contract down by 4.55cts to $2.8615/gal at midday.
Gasoline futures traded in a 6.5ct range during the morning session and were modestly higher near midday. EIA estimated gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million bbl last week, largely on a weak demand reading of 8.2 million b/d.
The agency also said refinery run rates rose last week, likely signaling more gasoline production in the coming weeks and months.
The NYMEX December RBOB contract was up by 1.27cts to $2.2427/gal.
U.S. spot prices were varied, with fractional gains in New York, Houston, Chicago and the Gulf Coast and a small decline in Group 3.
The average U.S. retail gasoline prices fell by a fractional amount on Wednesday, extending the run of lower prices to 62 days. But thanks mostly to Tuesday's strong gains in RBOB futures, the streak may end on Thursday.
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--Reporting by Tom Kloza, email@example.com; Editing by Jeff Barber, firstname.lastname@example.org
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