LONDON: Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, pulled down by a rise in US inventories and hopes that new investment could halt a plunge in Venezuela’s output. Benchmark Brent crude oil LCOc1 was down 20 cents at $75.75 a barrel by 07:50 GMT. US light crude CLc1 was 10 cents lower at $68.43 a barrel. US crude inventories rose by 38,000 barrels to 405.7 million barrels in the week to August 24, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday. Official US fuel inventory and crude production data will be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Traders said reports of potential investment in Venezuela’s struggling oil production also affected markets.
Venezuelan crude exports have halved since 2016 to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd). To stem tumbling output, Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA said on Tuesday it had signed a $430 million investment agreement to increase production by 640,000 bpd at 14 oilfields, although some analysts doubted whether this investment would go through given the instability in the country. Despite the risk of disruption, especially from OPEC-countries like Venezuela, Iran, Libya and Nigeria, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said global supply could climb towards the end of the year. — Reuters