RIYADH: Oil prices steadied on Thursday, a day after rising sharply on a bigger-than-expected fall in US inventories, as attention shifted back to rising interest rates denting global economic growth.
Brent crude futures was up 37 cents, or 0.50 percent, to $74.40 a barrel by 02:41 p.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 39 cents, or 0.56 percent, to $69.95 a barrel.
Both benchmarks gained about 3 percent on Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration said crude inventories dropped by 9.6 million barrels in the week ended June 23.
On Wednesday, leaders of the world’s top central banks reaffirmed that they think further policy tightening will be needed to tame stubbornly high inflation but still believe they can achieve that without triggering outright recessions.
The US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell did not rule out further hikes at the central bank’s next meeting. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde cemented expectations for a ninth consecutive rise in eurozone rates in July.
Adding to the pressure, annual profits at industrial firms in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, extended a double-digit decline in the first five months as softening demand squeezed margins.
Environmentalists ask court to halt 3 Norwegian oil projects
Environmental groups said on Thursday that they had demanded an immediate halt to the ongoing development of three Norwegian oil fields, seeking a court injunction against the country’s government.
Greenpeace and Nature and Youth said they had asked the Oslo District Court to put on hold Equinor’s Breidablikk and Aker BP’s Yggdrasil and Tyrving fields, arguing the government had failed to assess their climate impact.
Berkshire Hathaway boosts stake in Occidental Petroleum to 25%
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said on Wednesday that it had acquired more shares of Occidental Petroleum Corp., boosting its stake in the oil company to about 25 percent.
The conglomerate, controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, said in a regulatory filing that it paid about $122.1 million for 2.14 million Occidental shares between June 26 and June 28.
Berkshire had also purchased about 4.66 million Occidental shares on May 30.
Buffett’s company began buying shares of Houston-based Occidental early last year when Russia invaded Ukraine, and oil prices rose.
It also recently owned about $9.5 billion of Occidental preferred stock carrying an 8 percent dividend, plus warrants to buy another $5 billion of Occidental shares at $59.62 each.
Berkshire bought the preferred stock and obtained the warrants in 2019 when it helped finance Occidental’s purchase of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
(With input from Reuters)