Investing.com - Crude prices edged lower in early action on Thursday, as concerns over a rise in U.S. oil inventories and record weekly domestic production weighed.
New York-traded WTI crude futures shed 28 cents, or roughly 0.4%, to $71.56 a barrel by 3:55AM ET (0755MT), extending losses into a third session.
It closed 50 cents lower on Wednesday, pressured by a surprise jump in weekly U.S. crude supplies.
U.S. oil inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week to May 18 to 438.1 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a decline of 1.5 million barrels.
Domestic oil production - driven by shale extraction - remained unchanged at an all-time high of 10.70 million barrels per day (bpd). Only Russia currently produces more, at around 11 million bpd.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., inched down 36 cents, or about 0.5%, to $79.43 a barrel.
The global benchmark tacked on 23 cents in the last session, as investors fretted over the future output from Venezuela and Iran.
OPEC may decide to raise oil output as soon as June after Washington raised concerns the oil rally was going too far, according to sources.
Gulf OPEC countries are leading the initial talks on when the exporting group can boost oil production and how many barrels each member can add, the sources said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers led by Russia have agreed to curb output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of 2018 to reduce high global oil stocks, but the inventory overhang has now fallen close to OPEC’s target.
In other energy trading, natural gas futures were a shade higher at $2.928 per million British thermal units, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data due later in the global day amid expectations for an increase of 92 billion cubic feet.
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