Oil and gasoline stockpiles fell for the second consecutive week, a sign that the energy industry finally may be working through its stubborn supply glut.
Commercial crude inventories declined by 1 million barrels last week, after falling 2.2 million barrels the previous week, the Energy Department reported Wednesday. Gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels, following a 3 million barrel decline the previous week.
The declines are welcome news after steady gains earlier this year that pushed petroleum inventories to record levels. Earlier Wednesday, OPEC’s Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said that the cartel and other major oil producers are moving closer to end the worlds’s glut oil. Those nations have cut production by an estimated 1.8 million barrels a day and are considering extending the cuts through the end of the years
Oil was trading lower Wednesday morning, down 9 cents to $52.32 at about 9:50 a.m. in New York.
Demand for petroleum products was down slightly from a year ago. Over the past four weeks, consumption of all petroleum products averaged 19.7 million barrels, down less than 1 percent from the same period a year ago. Gasoline consumption also declined by about 1 percent to 9.3 million barrels.