“Clearly, PDVSA has absolutely no incentive to sell a single barrel to the U.S. if they cannot access the money,” Wittner said.
Further supporting oil prices Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration issued a bullish weekly report on U.S. inventories after it revealed crude stockpiles rose by less than 1 million barrels last week, compared to expectations of a 3.1 million-barrel rise. Gasoline inventories also unexpectedly dipped by 2.2 million barrels in their the first decline since mid November as refining activity slowed by 2.8 percentage points to 90.1% capacity utilization rate.
“This plunge in refining activity, a seasonal trend as we dive into maintenance, has yielded the first weekly drop in gasoline inventories in nine attempts,” Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, told the WSJ.
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