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Title: Oil drops as U.S. gasoline stock draw boosts prospects of SPR release

Nov 17, 2021 03:10AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices fell on Wednesday after an industry report showed that US gasoline inventories fell more than expected last week, which could increase pressure on the Biden administration to release oil from emergency reserves to curb rising fuel prices.

WTI crude futures in the United States fell 57 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $80.19 a barrel at 0750 GMT, extending Tuesday's 12-cent loss.

Brent crude futures fell 50 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $81.93, erasing Tuesday's 38-cent gain.

US President Joe Biden has considered releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help lower gasoline prices, which hit a record high at California pumps this week. But lawmakers are divided on whether this is necessary. The United States is the world's largest consumer of oil.

US House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said late on Tuesday he disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's call on Sunday to tap the SPR to lower gasoline prices, saying the reserve is there to fill a crude oil supply gap in times of emergency.

Data from industry group American Petroleum Institute showed gasoline stocks fell by 2.8 million barrels in the week to 12 November, market sources said.

The drop was much larger than the 600,000 barrels that 10 analysts polled by Reuters had expected.

Crude oil inventories rose by 655,000 barrels, the market sources said. This was below analysts' expectations of a build of 1.4 million barrels.

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