Crude oil prices were steady on Wednesday with an anticipated fall in US crude inventories, signaling a recovery in oil demand despite virus-induced fears, while a fire at an oil platform in Mexico reduced oil stocks to relieve oversupply concerns.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $70.33 per barrel at 0739 GMT for a 0.11% decrease after closing Tuesday at $70.41 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $67.40 a barrel at the same time for a 0.35% fall after ending the previous session at $67.64 per barrel.
After dropping 9% last week, prices started the week on a rally after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
On late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) predicted a drop in US crude oil stockpiles of 1.62 million barrels, less than the market expectation of a fall of 2.37 million barrels.
A significant drop in inventories indicates an increase in crude demand in the US, the world’s largest oil consumer, assuaging market concerns over dwindling demand.
Meanwhile, a fire on an offshore oil platform in Mexico reduced production by 444,000 barrels per day - a volume equivalent to the OPEC+ output increase for August - to prop up prices.
By Sibel Morrow