World crude oil prices plunged below 71 dollars Wednesday on improved U.S. energy stocks, as concerns over Iran eased.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, dropped 1.68 dollars to close at 70.82 dollars a barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for July delivery fell 1.62 dollars at 69.19 dollars a barrel.
U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday that its inventories of commercial crude oil, gasoline and other refined fuels were up in the week ending June 2.
Crude oil reserves rose by 1.1 million barrels last week to 346. 6 million, or 4.2 percent above year ago levels. The gain was stronger than a rise of 500,000 barrels analysts had been expecting.
Gasoline stockpiles increased by 1 million barrels last week to 210.3 million, or 2.4 percent below levels a year ago. Analysts were predicting a rise of 1.5 million barrels for the week.
Supplies of distillates, used for heating oil and diesel, went up by 1.8 million barrels to 120.7 million, or 8.5 percent up the levels a year ago. The increase was in line with a gain of 1.75 million barrels expected by analysts.
The European Union and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday agreed on a number of initiatives aimed at boosting cooperation through various joint actions.
They noted that while world oil markets are adequately supplied with crude oil and stocks are at comfortable levels, concerns over spare production capacity, the ongoing tightness in the refining
sector, geopolitical developments, and other factors continue to exert pressure on crude and product prices.