The price of oil was heading down toward $92 a barrel on Thursday, near six-month lows, after U.S. crude stockpiles rose for a tenth consecutive week.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down 16 cents at $92.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, having dropped $1.38 on Wednesday. Floor trading on the Nymex was closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, resulting in low trading volumes.
Oil has declined from about $110 in September due to reduced tensions in the oil-rich Middle East but above all to muted demand and high supplies. The Energy Department reported that crude supplies increased by 3 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, in the week ended Nov. 22. The nation's supply of crude oil is now 391.4 million barrels, which is 4.6 percent above year-ago levels and "well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year," the report said.
"Growing U.S. oil production played its part in this, exceeding 8 million barrels per day for the first time since January 1989," said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a note to clients. "U.S. crude oil stocks have reached their highest level for a November since records began in the early 1980s."
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 36 cents at $110.46 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. In other energy futures trading on Nymex: — Wholesale gasoline fell 0.51 cent to $2.6895 a gallon.
— Heating oil lost 0.31 cent to $3.0399 a gallon. — Natural gas retreated 0.4 cents to $3.891 per 1,000 cubic feet.