Crude oil futures settled flat on Thursday, giving up early gains, on concerns over China's decision to release some crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserve.
China said last week that it plans to release oil from its strategic reserve in order to "better stabilize domestic market supply and demand, and effectively guarantee the country's energy security."
However, recent data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories supported oil prices. Also, disruptions in crude output in the Gulf of Mexico due to the impact of Hurricane Ida prevented oil's decline.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October settled at $72.61 a barrel, unchanged from the previous close. The contract dropped to a low of 71.53 around mid morning before regaining lost ground.
Brent crude futures were up $0.25 at $75.70 a little while ago.
WTI crude futures had ended more than 3% up on Wednesday after data from U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stockpiles dropped by 6.42 million barrels last week to 417.4 million barrels. The drop in the week was much larger than an estimate declined of 3.5 million barrels.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.688 million barrels in the week, the EIA data showed. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories declined by 1.848 million barrels last week, compared with expectations for a draw of 1.957 million barrels.