Oil prices fell to a five week low on Wednesday as U.S. government data showed inventories of crude and oil products rose to a record high in the world's top consumer the United States.
U.S. crude oil futures fell $1.51 to $74.26 a barrel by 1503 GMT, having hit $73.83 earlier, the lowest price since early July.
ICE Brent fell $1.25 to $75.20, after flipping into a premium to the U.S. benchmark on Tuesday.
Combined inventories of crude and refined products, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reached 1.130 billion barrels last week, compared with the previous record of 1.127 billion barrels struck in September 1990, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed.
EIA VS API
The EIA data showed a 818,000 barrel drop in U.S. crude stocks, roughly in line with analysts' forecast for a 1 million barrel drop.
That contrasted with Tuesday's set of figures from the industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API), which showed a 5.9 million barrels rise crude stocks.
The initial reaction to EIA data is slightly counter to the reaction to APIs Tuesday afternoon; with EIAs not as bearish as the APIs and economic sluggishness still taking center stage, Jay Levine, broker with Enerjay, said.
Nevertheless, the current supply/demand equation with plenty of supply and not enough demand has shaved the complex of much of the summer and hurricane premiums that were built in over the last few months.
Crude oil stocks at Cushing in Oklahoma, the delivery point of U.S. crude fell 687,000 barrels to 37.0 million barrels. The level is still relatively high.
High inventories at Cushing typically push North Sea benchmark Brent crude prices to a premium to U.S. crude. Many investors put their money on moves of the spread between these crude oil contracts.
The premium of Brent has been around a two-month high since Tuesday. In the week to August 6, Crude supplies at Cushing stood at 37.7 million barrels in the week to August 6, just shy of a record 37.9 million barrels in mid-May.
Oil Prices are now centered near the mid-point of the $64.24-$87.15 trading range so far this year as increases in energy demand in emerging markets has been insufficient to drain ample supplies in other areas in the world.
The price level is also around the sweet spot of the $70-$80 range for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
(Reporting by Alejandro Barbajosa in Singapore and Ikuko Kurahone in London; editing by Keiron Henderson)