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Oil Prices Fall to 14-Month Lows on U.S. Supply Data

July 19, 2001|From Times Wire Services

Oil prices fell for the eighth straight session Wednesday, hitting their lowest levels in 14 months.

West Texas intermediate crude futures have fallen $3.32, or 12%, since July 7. Shares of oil companies and oil-field service firms have fallen in concert. The Amex oil index of 15 major oil producers fell 1.4% on Wednesday and is off 15% from its recent high.

The downward push Wednesday came from U.S. oil supply figures from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing huge increases in crude oil stockpiles.

August crude futures of West Texas intermediate on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 68 cents to $24.89 a barrel Wednesday.

U.S. gasoline futures ended Tuesday down 2.41 cents to 71.83 cents per gallon.

The API showed crude supply up 5.6 million barrels last week. The EIA showed crude supply up 7 million barrels. The EIA said this year's level exceeds the amount during the same period in 2000 by more than 27 million barrels.

Prices have been falling since traders began to calculate the return of Iraqi oil exports. Iraq signaled in the first week of July that it would resume exports and did so July 10, after a five-week hiatus.

But traders say it will take a month or so for the U.S. Gulf Coast to receive a healthy amount of Iraqi crude.

The slide in crude prices has hurt the stocks of companies that produce oil. Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (ticker symbol: XOM), the biggest U.S. oil company, fell $1.05 to $84.25 on Wednesday, and Texaco Inc. (TX) was down 24 cents to $64.76 and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) was off 92 cents to $25.65.

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