Oil prices dipped on Wednesday, weighed down by a report of rising U.S. crude inventories and an expected increase in production.
Despite this, prices remain near four-year highs reached earlier this week ahead of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil exports that kick in next month.
Brent crude oil futures were trading at $84.73 per barrel at 0103 GMT, down 7 cents from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 10 cents at $75.13 a barrel.
U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 907,000 barrels in the week to Sept. 28 to 400.9 million, the private American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. Refinery crude runs fell by 158,000 barrels per day (bpd), API data showed.
Official weekly government data is due from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
Traders said the rising stocks were partly due to a relentless increase in U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA, which has jumped by a third since mid-2016 to a record 11.1 million bpd.
“We expect U.S. crude production to exit the year at 11.3 million bpd,” Barclays bank said in a note on Tuesday.
That would make the United States the world’s biggest crude oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Despite the rising U.S. supply, traders said global oil markets remained tense because of the looming U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil exports that are scheduled to start from Nov. 4.
Brent and WTI earlier this week both reached levels last seen in November 2014, and the two contracts have risen by around 20 and 17 percent respectively since mid-August. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein Editing by Joseph Radford)
More than 70,000 flee ethnic violence in western Ethiopia: local govt
More than 70,000 people have fled ethnically-charged violence in western Ethiopia, officials there said on Tuesday – part of an eruption of unrest that has piled pressure on reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Residents in Benishangul-Gumuz region said violence erupted on Friday after four local officials were killed during a visit to neighbouring Oromiya region.
Ethnic Oromos living in Benishangul-Gumuz were attacked by members of other groups, and many fled into Oromiya, said residents, who asked not to be named.
The Oromiya region’s administration said on Tuesday that the number of people who had fled their homes had “passed beyond 70,000”.
Abiy – the diverse country’s first Oromo leader – came to office in April and turned politics on its head by making peace with long-term foe Eritrea, freeing prisoners and promising a string of sweeping economic and political reforms.
He also promised to ease ethnic tensions and steer the state away from a hardline security policy in place for decades.
But commentators say his easing of restrictions may have led to flare-ups of violence over long-standing rivalries between ethnic groups.
Nearly one million people have been forced from their homes in southern Ethiopia since clashes erupted there in April, according to U.N. agencies.