Oil prices down after latest inventory numbers

October 16, 2014, 4:31 PM UTC
Energy
contract armin harris
Kyle Bean for Fortune

Crude prices are down again Thursday amid news that American production from the shale boom shows no sign of slowing.

Brent – the global benchmark – sunk to its lowest level since Nov. 2010 and was trading at $83.47 a barrel or a change of 31 cents or 0.37 percent.

Some of decline is due to supply glut driven by American production, but also increases from Libya and Iraq. The latest numbers from Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, found that U.S. inventories from a week ago increased about four times more than the markets had projected.

According to the EIA’s weekly petroleum status report, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 8.9 million barrels over the previous week. At 370.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

On top of that, the EIA earlier this week reported that there were no signs the declining oil prices were hitting the shale boom with new well oil production projected to be up in seven shale plays in November compared to a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Richard Kinder, CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, the largest U.S. oil and natural gas pipeline company, said late Wednesday on the company’s earning call that the drop in oil prices was not impacting any of its projects moving forward.

“With regard to most of our midstream pipeline issues we don’t see much change as a result of lower prices,” he said. “In fact, you could make a contrarian argument that a lower deck of prices on crude and NGLs will have a positive effect on people ramping up petrochemical usage in the months and years to come. “

While some analysts blamed the drop in oil prices on a continued global glut, others said they were more likely responding to a swoon in the stock markets.

“I really think stocks are the straw that stirs the drink here,” said Richard Ross, executive vice president of Auerbach Grayson & Company, a global equity broker.

“This is a changing relationship because crude has led us lower well in advance of the fall off of equities,” he said. “Now, the relationship has changed. If equities are able to find tradable floor which is very much in jeopardy, crude will try and hold onto this $80 level.”