Oil prices opened with some gains on Friday to recover from a sudden dive on Thursday, caused by an unexpected increase in U.S. crude oil inventories and with crude production hitting an all-time high.
International benchmark Brent crude plummeted 2.5% on Thursday to close at $70.34 per barrel, but recovered by 0.22% to trade at $70.50 a barrel at 0630 GMT.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dipped 3% during the previous session to end the day at $61.69 a barrel, however it gained 0.1% to reach $61.75 per barrel at the same time early Friday.
Both benchmarks hit their lowest levels in a month on Thursday. Brent fell to as low as $69.69 a barrel to mark its lowest level since April 5; while WTI dropped to $60.95 per barrel -- its lowest cost since April 1.
The sharp decline in prices came after crude oil inventories in the U.S. showed an increase of 9.9 million barrels for the week ending April 26, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which was much higher than the market estimate of a 1.5 million barrel increase.
Crude oil production in the U.S. also reached a new all-time highest level by climbing to 12.3 million barrels per day for the week ending April 26, according to the EIA data.
The unexpected inventory build-up, coupled with record crude production, put a downward pressure on oil prices, experts said.
The recovery in prices could continue since the U.S.' 180-day waivers on eight countries to import Iranian oil ends on Friday, they added.
By Ovunc Kutlu