LONDON (Reuters) – Oil eased below $71 on Tuesday as investors weighed ample fuel stocks in top consumer the United States and the potential for higher Nigerian crude exports.
London Brent crude, now more representative of global oil prices, slipped 51 cents to $70.85 a barrel by 0919 GMT, after gaining 18 cents on Monday. U.S. crude dipped 51 cents to $68.67 a barrel.
U.S. crude inventories, already at a nine-year high, are expected to have climbed a further 900,000 barrels last week, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. Stocks of gasoline are expected to rise by 1.1 million barrels.
“There are some bearish factors in the market now but I don’t know how long they will last as the market seems to refuse to go down,” said Tony Nunan, a manager of risk management at Japan’s Mitusbishi Corp.
The end of a production-threatening strike in Nigeria and news that Royal Dutch Shell would restart Nigerian export shipments from Forcados also brought prices lower.
The oil major said it will resume operations at the Forcados terminal next month, more than a year after shipments were stopped by militant attacks.
About 711,000 barrels per day of production in Nigeria, Africa’s largest exporter, has been closed due to militant attacks.
OPEC’s president, Mohammed al-Hamli, reiterated on Tuesday that the 12-member group was keeping world markets well supplied and stockpiles were high.
OPEC producers, excluding Iraq and Angola, are set to pump slightly more oil in June at 26.8 million barrels per day because of higher shipments from some members including Iran and Algeria, said Conrad Gerber, head of consultancy Petrologistics.