Surprise figures showing a rise in US stockpiles of crude oil – despite the summer driving season – depressed N. Sea crude oil prices today and helped push the FTSE-100 index down to a seven month low.
The index closed down 122.84 points at 6403.45 – with oil giant BP slipping 1.7% while Shell fell 2%.
US crude fell $1.80 to $40.82 a barrel, while Brent crude dropped $1.75 to $47.06.
City observers see no sign of relief for Brent crude oil prices while US oil imports continue to surge, while OPEC continues to maintain market share and while the Chinese economy falters.
Investec analyst Neill Morton said: “Today’s surprise figures on US oil stocks, coupled with flat underlying margins at Wood Group suggests that the N. Sea oil industry is running very hard to stand still. It is still tough to call the bottom and we remain cautious. “