Oil Little Changed in Thursday Trade

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures were little changed Thursday morning, with spot-month West Texas Intermediate crude, ULSD and RBOB futures trading on either side of Wednesday's settlements ahead of weekly U.S. data expected to show U.S. petroleum stocks were drawn down during the week ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer peak demand season for gasoline.

The EIA report for the week-ended May 26 set for release at 11:00 AM ET will follow a report issued late Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute showing a bigger-than-expected U.S. crude oil stock draw down of 8.67 million bbl.

The API also showed gasoline supply posted a surprise draw down of 1.73 million bbl while distillate supplies unexpectedly increased by 124,000 bbl.

Oil futures stabilized after plunging Wednesday on concern rising supply from the United States and Libya would a ensure global supply glut persists through next year, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allied non-OPEC producers seen unlikely to rebalance the market this year.

EIA last week reported U.S. production at a 9.32 million bpd 21-year high, while Libya's state-run oil company said their production that rose to an 800,000 bpd 2-1/2 year high this week is expected to grow to 1.1 million bpd by August.

At last look, NYMEX July WTI crude futures edged up 6cts to $48.38 bbl while August Brent crude oil futures on the IntercontinentalExchange slipped 13cts to $50.63 bbl after inside trade.

The July Brent crude contract expired at a three-week low of $50.13 on Wednesday. The spot-month Brent crude premium to WTI increased by 26cts to $1.94 bbl.

NYMEX July ULSD futures declined 0.56cts to $1.5123 gallon while the July RBOB futures contract edged up 0.59cts to $1.6024 gallon after inside trade. Technical indicators show short-term downtrends for the crude and ULSD contracts while RBOB futures are trending sideways.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com