Oil continued its sharp selloff Wednesday, with West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery tumbling another 2.9% to settle at just $45.34 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI had been trading above $50 a barrel just days earlier.
Crude tanked after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that America's oil inventories soared by 14.4 million barrels for the week ending Oct. 28 to reach 482.6 million barrels. The EIA said in a statement that the increases put oil inventories "at the upper limit of the average range for this time of year."
Oil immediately fell to $45 a barrel following the EIA report's release. Shares of Chevron (CVX) , BP (BP) , Diamondback Energy (FANG) and many other oil companies also sold off and remained lower as of late afternoon.
Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit predicted that oil prices will remain "sloppy," telling TheStreet that he expects lower crude prices for longer.
Gheit said that while exploration-and-production companies will get "squeezed financially" going forward, they can't afford not to continue pumping oil. He added that since many E&P companies have cut their costs significantly, "they can stay in business even at $40 a barrel for oil."
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