Oil prices decline on growing supply

By CHRIS KAHN,AP Energy Writer Updated at 2012-04-25 18:03:54 +0000


NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices dropped slightly on Wednesday after the government reported an increase in U.S. supplies.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude lost 22 cents to $103.33 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which sets the price of oil imported into the U.S., lost 28 cents to $117.88 per barrel in London.

Prices dipped after the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. oil supplies increased by 4 million barrels last week. The increase was a surprise following an industry trade group's prediction late Tuesday that supplies had declined last week. The price of oil tends to fall as more supply becomes available to refineries.

Crude supplies climbed close to a record high in Cushing, Okla., where benchmark crude is delivered. High oil supplies in Cushing have pushed the benchmark price lower than other oil varieties. Those supplies are expected to begin falling in May when the Seaway Pipeline begins carrying crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast.

Supplies also rose last week on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Midwest and Rocky Mountains.

Petroleum demand fell by 3.2 percent when compared with the same time last year.

At the pump, gasoline prices fell for a ninth day to an average $3.84 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The price of gasoline has declined by an average of 9.6 cents per gallon since it hit $3.936 per gallon on April 6.

In other energy trading, heating oil was flat at $3.1314 per gallon and gasoline futures gave up 3.05 cents to $3.1288 per gallon. Natural gas added 2.9 cents to $2.004 per 1,000 cubic feet.