WASHINGTON – Oil prices were steady Wednesday after U.S. government data showed domestic inventories of crude oil, gasoline and heating oil fell last week.
The possibility of more production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has also kept a floor under prices. OPEC, which meets Dec. 14 in Nigeria, says it is concerned about ballooning worldwide crude oil inventories.
Light, sweet crude for January delivery rose 2 cents to $62.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had fallen a penny Tuesday.
January Brent crude at London's ICE Futures exchange fell 19 cents to $63.13 a barrel.
In its latest petroleum supply report, the Department of Energy said domestic inventories of crude oil fell by 1.1 million barrels last week to 339.7 million barrels, or 5.4 percent above year ago levels.
Inventories of gasoline declined by 1.1 million barrels to 200 million barrels, or 2.6 percent less than a year ago. Inventories of distillate fuel, which include heating oil and diesel, shrank by 400,000 barrels to 132.4 million barrels, or 1 percent below year ago levels.
Heating oil fell half a cent to $1.7933 a gallon, unleaded gasoline futures fell 1.2 cent to $1.63 a gallon and natural gas futures fell 9.7 cents to $7.588 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The U.S. Energy Department said Tuesday in its annual long-term world energy forecast that the price of oil, when adjusted for inflation, would decline between 2007 and 2015 as investments made in recent years of historically high prices bring new supplies to the market.