Oil prices dipped to their lowest levels for months earlier on Wednesday as traders remained fixated on the pile up of crude in America.
Having been lower earlier in the day, Brent crude was down just 0.4% at US$46.65 per barrel following the release of inventory stats from the US authorities, while West Texas Intermediary futures changed hands just above US$45.
Stockpile figures from the US Energy Department showed a 2.3mln drain on crude stores, echoing the trend suggested by yesterday’s numbers from the American Petroleum Institute (API) which also revealed a 2.3mln drop.
Despite the stats now showing nine consecutive weeks of stockpile draw downs, crude prices have lowered as supplies have been rising in the international market.
A few months of better prices have seemingly improved the outlook for some major industry players.
US oil field services giant Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest frackers, had some guarded optimism today as it flagged expectations for a ‘modest uptick’ in the American rig count (the industry measure of new activity).
Halliburton chief executive Dave Lesar, in a quarterly financial update,highlighted that the US rig count had dropped 78% from the 2014 peak and reached a “landing point” during the second quarter.
He added: “Since reaching the bottom, the rig count has improved by 26 over the last several weeks, reflecting operator confidence in stabilizing commodity prices”.