Oil prices fell for the second day running on Thursday after data showed larger-than-expected rise in U.S. oil stockpiles and U.S. Energy Secretary indicated that a proposal to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to calm oil and motor fuel prices is under consideration.
Benchmark Brent crude futures fell about 1 percent to $80.28 a barrel, after having briefly hit above $83/bbl on Wednesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1.5 percent at $76.25.
Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed crude stockpiles increased by 2.35 million barrels last week versus expectations for a drop of 418,000 barrels.
Gasoline inventories increased by 3.26 million barrels in the week ended October 1, while distillates stockpiles dropped by 396,000 barrels in the week.
All tools were on the table and everybody was hoping that there would be additional supply made available so that prices would not be jacked up, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Wednesday at a Financial Times energy summit. She was referring to the release of Strategic Petroleum Reserves to contain rising gasoline prices.
US’ SPR., located in the Gulf of Mexico, is the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil, according to U.S. Department of Energy.