The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude stockpiles declined by about 4.5 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the data. If confirmed by government figures due Wednesday, that would be the biggest drop in nationwide holdings since early February.
Oil rallied to the highest level since 2008 last month in the initial aftermath of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, crude has seen volatile trading as investors gauge moves by the U.S. and U.K. to ban Russian imports, as well as the impact of major releases from strategic reserves. Supply outages have also roiled prices, with protest-driven disruptions in Libya the latest to hit the market.
“Crude oil is trading higher after adding another big trading range yesterday,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “Focus is on U.S. inventories with the API seeing a 4.5-million-barrel draw.”
There’s mounting pressure on the European Union to ban Russian crude too, with France now supporting the move. On Tuesday, Russia’s Rosneft PJSC was offering to sell multiple oil cargoes after a long absence from the spot market.
Kazakhstan — another source of recent oil supply disruption — said it expects its main oil-export route to be fully restored this week. Repairs to moorings at the Black Sea port where its crude is shipped from are “basically completed,” and one of the two moorings affected is due to restart full operations Wednesday, news agency Interfax reported, citing the nation’s Energy Minister.