Oil prices steadied on Wednesday near six-month highs after data that showed U.S. stockpiles rose to their highest levels since October 2017, countering fears of tight supply resulting from OPEC output cuts and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.
Brent crude futures lost 9 cents to $74.42 a barrel by 1:06 p.m. EDT (1706 GMT). The international benchmark reached $74.73 a barrel on Tuesday, highest since Nov. 1.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 49 cents to $65.81 a barrel. The contract hit $66.60 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest since Oct. 31.
U.S. crude inventories rose 5.5 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, far more than analysts’ forecast of an increase of 1.3 million barrels.
However, gasoline stocks fell by 2.1 million barrels, a larger-than-anticipated drop.