UPDATE 7-Oil falls; OPEC+ expected to stick to gradual output hikes
New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments, adds details on EIA figures
By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Wednesday after a source said OPEC+ agreed to stick to its existing plan for gradual oil output hikes. nS8N2L20FW
Brent crude LCOc1 fell 56 cents to $71.07 a barrel by 11:35 a.m. EDT (1535 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 59 cents to $67.91 a barrel.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed on Wednesday to stick to a policy from July of phasing out record output cuts by adding 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) a month to the market, an OPEC+ source said. nS8N2L20FW nL1N2Q30F8
Still, the group revised up its 2022 demand outlook and faces U.S. pressure to raise production more quickly, Reuters earlier reported. nL1N2Q30F8
OPEC+ has fulfilled a goal of removing excess oil from the global market and it is now important to keep the market balanced, Russia's top negotiator, Alexander Novak, said. nS8N2PK002
In the United States, gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose by 1.3 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Analysts had expected a 1.6 million-barrel drop. Rising coronavirus infections could curtail demand in the United States in coming weeks, along with seasonal declines typical after summer driving season wanes.
"The gasoline build came as Tropical Storm Henry shut traffic on the East Coast which was a big hit to summer driving season," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.
The jump in gasoline inventories came even as product supplied, a measure of demand, topped 22 million bpd for the first time ever, EIA said.
U.S. crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell by 7.2 million barrels last week to 425.4 million barrels. Analysts had expected a 3.1 million-barrel drop.
U.S. crude prices are expected to remain under pressure as offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico gradually recovers. However, reviving Louisiana refineries shut by Hurricane Ida could take weeks, analysts said. nL1N2Q2306
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; Additional reporting by Noah Browning in London, Florence Tan in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne
Editing by Edmund Blair, David Goodman and David Gregorio)