Both oil benchmarks fell on Thursday, fueled by supply glut concerns that intensified when the US called on OPEC+ producers to pump more oil, and with negative sentiments due to rising COVID-19 cases.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $71.33 at 0730 GMT on Thursday, posting a 0.15% decrease from Wednesday when trade closed at $71.44 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $69.17 at the same time on Thursday, declining by 0.12% relative to $69.25 a barrel on Tuesday.
In a written statement on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan urged OPEC and its allies to boost oil output to tackle rising gasoline prices that they see as a threat to the global economic recovery.
He noted that, if not controlled, rising gasoline prices carry the risk of hurting the current economic recovery, adding that, 'at a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.'
OPEC+ had agreed on July 18 to raise output by 400,000 barrels per day from August to December and extend its production cut agreement from April 2022 to December 2022.
The group is poised to meet on Sept. 1 to review their decision.
However, the downward trend in prices was limited due to a fall in US commercial crude oil inventories, signaling recovering demand. Inventories dropped 0.1% for the week ending August 6, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Inventories decreased by 400,000 barrels to 438.8 million barrels, lower than the market expectation of a 1.05 million-barrel draw. Strategic petroleum reserves, which are not included in commercial crude stocks, remained unchanged at 621.3 million barrels last week, the data revealed.
However, gasoline inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels to 227.5 million barrels over that period.
Oil prices were also supported by the US Senate's recent approval of a $1.2 trillion plan on Tuesday to rejuvenate America's badly-aging infrastructure. The bill is one of the largest cash infusions into America's infrastructure in decades and is a pivotal step in realizing Biden's economic agenda.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu