(INVESTORS) – Brent crude oil prices crept toward the key $70 level even as U.S. crude stockpiles swelled far above estimates and production hit a new high. Exxon Mobil (XOM) and other oil stocks were little changed.
U.S. crude inventories rose by 7.2 million barrels in the latest week, the Energy Information Administration reported at 10:30 a.m. ET. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 1.8 million barrels.
Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expected the EIA to report a 100,000-barrel drop in crude stockpiles, with gasoline down by 2.6 million barrels. However, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 3 million barrels last week.
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U.S. crude oil production increased to 12.2 million barrels per day.