Investing.com - Crude oil prices held flat in Asia on Thursday with the market focused on strife in Iraq
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in July traded at $104.38 a barrel, down 0.02%, after hitting an overnight session low of $104.04 a barrel and a high of $105.05 a barrel.
The Brent oil contract rose 0.4% to $109.95 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange on Wednesday. Islamist rebels seized control of two cities in Iraq, which has been making gains in rebuilding its oil industry.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels in the week ended June 6, surpassing expectations for a decline of 1.9 million barrels.
Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 386.9 million barrels as of last week.
The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a gain of 0.9 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 0.9 million barrels, compared to expectations for an increase of 1.2 million barrels.
Industry data, however, painted a different picture of the U.S. energy sector.
The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported that gasoline stocks fell by 441,000 barrels compared with expectations for a 843,000-barrels gain. The API also said that crude stocks rose by 1.45 million barrels versus forecasts of a decrease of 1.9 million barrels.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Wednesday that it would keep its official production target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day, as widely expected. The 12-member group is responsible for approximately 40% of global supply.
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