London: World oil prices rose on 14 June, breaching $70 in London, after data showed no increase in US gasoline stockpiles last week as the peak driving season in North America begins.
Brent North Sea crude for July delivery climbed 37 cents to $70.31 per barrel in electronic trading. The contract had closed up more than a dollar the previous day in the wake of the US inventory data.
New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, gained 19 cents to $66.45 a barrel in electronic deals before the official open of the US market.
Crude prices began rising strongly the previous day after the US Department of Energy (DoE) said US inventories of motor fuel were flat at 201.5 million barrels in the week ending 8 June, well below the average range for this time of year and ending a five-week streak of gains.
Market expectations had been for a rise in gasoline stocks of 1.6 million barrels last week.
Oil prices are meanwhile also being supported by a decline in refinery utilisation for the second consecutive weak.
“The market was expecting a very bearish report (from the DoE) which did not materialise,” Sucden analyst Michael Davies said in London today.
Gasoline supplies remain in focus amid the current US driving season when demand for motor fuel traditionally peaks as holidaymakers hit the country’s roads.
Despite recent weekly increases, gasoline stocks in the United States remain at historically low levels for this time of year.