RIYADH: Oil prices edged lower in volatile trading on Thursday as the market weighed concerns of global supply and a build in US fuel product inventories.
Brent crude futures for September, the more actively traded contract, were down 45 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $112.00 per barrel at 0711 GMT.
The August contract, which expires Thursday, was at $115.15, down $1.11 a barrel, or 1.0 percent.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 57 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $109.21.
Ecuador’s Oriente crude exports suspended
Exports of Ecuador’s flagship Oriente crude remain suspended under a force majeure declaration as the spread of anti-government protests hurts oil output, state-run Petroecuador said on Wednesday.
At least eight people have died and road blockades have led to food and medicine shortages. The crisis has halved oil output, the country’s main source of revenue, to some 234,500 barrels per day while forcing reductions in fuel prices, though protest leaders have called the price cuts insufficient.
On Wednesday, the government imposed a curfew and restricted transit in four provinces to restore public order, control violence, secure basic supplies and protect state property, while marking oilfields and facilities as secured zones.
The energy minister said output could be completely halted in a matter of days over acts of vandalism.
Petroecuador has not yet rescheduled the suspended Oriente cargoes, it said in a release. The firm issued a wide force majeure declaration over oil exploration, production, transport and exports on June 18, and enforced the cargo suspension on June 28.
“Once the force majeure is overcome, the company will timely notify companies about operations to coordinate the cargo rescheduling,” it said.
German oil refiner to halt diesel deliveries after lightning strike
German oil refiner Bayernoil plans to halt deliveries of diesel and heating oil to customers for several days from Thursday after a lightning strike, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
Bayernoil is the largest oil refiner in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria and the incident adds to two other outages in the same region as Europe’s diesel market suffers from the loss of imports from Russia.