Even with last week's rise, overall USA crude inventories are below the 5-year average of around 420 million barrels.
At 1010 GMT, the October ICE Brent crude futures contract was down 10 cents from Thursday's settle at $73.45/b, while the NYMEX WTI September contract edged down 3 cents to $68.93/b.
Saudi Arabia's production increased by 230,000 barrels a day in July to 10.65 million barrels per day.
The increase in American oil shipments follows the world's fifth-largest oil importer halting Iran crude loadings from July, ahead of US sanctions, while its refiners are also seeking cheaper alternatives to Iraq's Basra crude.
USA crude oil exports averaged 1.31 million barrels per day last week, down by 1.37 million barrels per day from the previous week.
The speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in NY and London by 5,287 contracts to 407,001 during the week ending July 31, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday. Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 8.00 million barrels per day, or 0.4 percent higher than the same four-week period a year ago.
"Oil is holding up reasonably well ..."
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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russian Federation had agreed in late 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance supply and demand.
"At the moment, there is a mismatch in timing, where there is increasing OPEC supply and yet we're not seeing a significant reduction in Iranian supply", Patterson said.
Oil prices are feeling the effects of ongoing tensions over global trade, with markets concerned about any slowdown in growth around the world.
"It is unclear that the higher tariffs proposed by the Trump Administration will ever be imposed and if they are that they will have a major detrimental impact on oil demand", Flynn said.
The kingdom has been under acute pressure from President Donald Trump to open the taps as he chokes off exports from Saudi's political rival, Iran. Iranian officials have warned their country would not easily yield to a renewed USA campaign to strangle oil exports.
There are a lot of escalation points that could occur very quickly and that worries me, Barratt said.
"It is nearly certain that China will impose additional duties on oil and refined products imported from the USA if the Trump administration implements additional tariffs on the next tranche of Chinese goods. This could severely dent the competitiveness of USA oil and derivatives in the Chinese market", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy.
The country's top two refiners SK Energy and GS Caltex bought 2 million barrels of USA crude each for October arrival, while its smallest refiner Hyundai Oilbank has also purchased 2 million barrels of medium-sour Mars crude for the first time, the sources said.