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Oil inventories fall slightly, but gasoline inventories build amidst weak demand, high refinery output

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The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States. Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 511.5 MMbbl. At 511.5 MMbbl, inventories are 10.6 MMbbl above last year (2.1%) and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Inventories at the major delivery point in Cushing, OK declined by 1.2 million barrels for a total of 62.2 million barrels.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels to a total of 242.4 MMbbl. At 242.4 MMbbl, inventories are up 5.4 MMbbl, or 2.3% higher than a year ago and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Here’s how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week:
• East Coast (-0.2 MMbbl)
• Midwest (+0.4 MMbbl)
• Gulf Coast (+0.4 MMbbl)
• Rockies (+0.0 MMbbl)
• West Coast (+1.5 MMbbl)

It’s important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories) or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (DIESEL, HEATING OIL) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels to a total of 151.4 MMbbl. At 151.4 MMbbl, inventories are down 0.7 MMbbl, or 0.5% lower vs. a year ago.

IMPLIED DEMAND:
Gasoline supplied to end users amounted to 9.3 million barrels per day (MMbpd), or 48,000bpd lower than the previous week. So far in 2017, gasoline supplied is 3.0% lower versus 2016, per the EIA.

REFINERY OUTPUT/UTILIZATION:
Refinery utilization increased by 0.3% vs. last week’s numbers to 94.4%. Gasoline production decreased to 9.8 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production decreased to 5.2 million barrels per day last week.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows:
• East Coast: 87.3% (down 1.9%)
• Midwest: 98.7% (up 1.9%)
• Gulf Coast: 96.4% (up 0.7%)
• Rocky Mountain: 88.3% (down 1.2%)
• West Coast: 86.0% (down 1.7%)

These percentages show how much of a region’s overall capacity were used to refine oil. It’s important to note these percentages, because the lower the utilization percent, the lower output—which has a direct impact on local gasoline prices. If refiners in your region have low output, you’re more likely to see prices rise.

OVERALL SUPPLY:
Total oil stocks in the United States are up by 16.3 MMbbl (1.2%) over last year and stand at 1.35 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

IMPORTS/EXPORTS:
The U.S. imported 8.0 MMbpd of crude oil per day last week, down by 316,000 bpd vs. the previous week. Total motor gasoline imports last week averaged 574,000 bpd. The U.S. also imported 61,000 bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same timeframe, the U.S. exported 525,000 bpd of finished gasoline and 1,123,000 bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 5.2 MMbpd of oil and petroleum products.

Shortly before the EIA report was released, oil was trading down 32 cents per barrel at $46.14. Shortly after the report was released, oil was down 81 cents per barrel.

Head of Petroleum Analysis (USA)

Patrick has developed into the leading source for reliable and accurate information on gas price hikes. Patrick has been interviewed as a gasoline price expert hundreds of times since 2004. Based in Chicago, Patrick brings to GasBuddy all his assets to help consumers by giving reliable and accurate price forecasts, including the San Jose Mercury News dubbing Patrick "one of the nation's most accurate forecasters" in 2012.

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