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) -- According to a government report, crude stockpiles fell last week, though inventories for petroleum products tracked higher than expected.

On Wednesday morning, the Energy Information Administration's latest weekly inventory numbers showed that oil inventories fell by 1 million barrels last week to 337.4 million. Analysts polled by Platts, instead, expected the government to show that inventories rose by 1.9 million barrels.

Still, gasoline and distillate fuel inventories grew more than forecast, swelling by 2.9 million barrels and 700,000 barrels each last week. Analysts were looking for gasoline stockpiles to jump by 1.3 million barrels, while distillates were expected to grow by 400,000 barrels.

In the afternoon, light, sweet crude for November delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was sliding $1.32 at $69.56 per barrel.

Elsewhere, the

Wall Street Journal

reported that

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Free Report

will get a

foothold in an oil field off the coast of Ghana for $4 billion.

Shares of Exxon Mobil were dropping 19 cents at $68.47 in mid-morning trading.

Murphy Oil

(MUR) - Get Free Report

shares, too, were bidding lower, declining 28 cents to $58.71.

Among other major oil equities, shares of


(CVX) - Get Free Report

were changing hands down 0.7%.


(COP) - Get Free Report

was up 82 cents, or 1.7%, at $49.23.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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