HOUSTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a drop of 2.58 million barrels in the U.S. crude oil inventories for the week ending March 8.
In the previous week ending March 1, API reported a growth of 7.29 million barrels of crude oil inventories.
Oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) lowered its forecasts for U.S. crude supply for 2019 and 2020.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery was up 0.08 U.S. dollar to settle at 56.87 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery rose 0.09 dollar to close at 66.67 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
In its latest monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook released on Tuesday, EIA estimated that U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.9 million barrels per day in February, down slightly from the January average. And the agency forecast that U.S. crude oil production will average 12.3 million barrels per day in 2019 and 13.0 million barrels per day in 2020, with most of the growth coming from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico.
Meanwhile, EIA forecast Brent spot prices will average 63 dollars a barrel in 2019 and 62 dollars a barrel in 2020, compared with an average of 71 dollars a barrel in 2018.
The EIA also expected that WTI crude oil prices will average 9 dollars a barrel lower than Brent prices in the first half of 2019 before the discount gradually falls to 4 dollars a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2019 and throughout 2020.