Oil prices fall as IEA members meet to discuss release of stocks
By Shadia Nasralla
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday ahead of a meeting of member countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA) scheduled to discuss a release of emergency oil reserves alongside a planned huge release by the United States.
Brent crude futures were down 71 cents, or 0.7%, at $104.00 a barrel at 0952 GMT, after falling 5.6% on Thursday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 92 cents, or 0.9%, at $99.36 a barrel.
Both benchmark contracts were heading for their biggest weekly losses in two years at 14% and 13%, respectively.
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced a release of 1 million barrels a day for six months, starting in May. This will be the largest release ever by the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
IEA members will meet at 12:00 GMT on Friday to discuss a further emergency oil release.
However, oil prices could reverse course if the release is reduced or delayed or if delivered volumes are lower than those mentioned by the White House, consultancy Eurasia Group said in a note.
OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, on Thursday stuck to plans to boost 432,000 barrels a day from its May production target despite the Western pressure to add more.
“The impending flood of US barrels does not change the fact that the market will struggle to find sufficient supply in the months ahead,” said PVM analyst Stephen Brennock.
“The US publication pales in comparison to expectations that 3 million bpd of Russian oil will be stuck as sanctions bite and buyers reject their purchases.”
(Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Isabel Kua in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely)
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