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Crude Oil Records A Build While Gasoline and Distillate Inventories Fall


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 oil inventories rose 8.0 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 404 MMbbl. At 404 MMbbl, inventories are 61.0 MMbbl below last year (-6.3%) and are 20 million barrels below the five-year average for this time of year. Stockpiles at the major delivery point in Cushing, OK, fell 1.52 MMbbl to a total of 24.49 million barrels

Gasoline inventories fell 0.5 million barrels to a total of 235.2 MMbbl. At 235.2 MMbbl, inventories are up 16.8 MMbbl, or 7.4% higher than a year ago and are about 13% above the five-year average range for this time of year.

Here’s how individual regions and their and their gasoline inventories fared:
East Coast (+ 1.7 MMbbl)
MidWest (+ 4.0 MMbbl)
Gulf Coast (+ 2.0 MMbbl)
Rockies (- 2.9 MMbbl)
West Coast (+ 0.5 MMbbl)

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

Distillate inventories decreased by 1.75 million barrels last week, to a total of 139.3 MMbbl. At 139.3 MMbbl, inventories are up .690 MMbbl, or .4% higher vs a year ago. Distillate inventories now stand at 2.8 percent below the five-year average range for his time of year.

Gasoline supplied to end users amounted to 10.081 MMbbl per day or 131,000 bpd higher than the previous week. So far in 2018, implied (“products supplied”) is .5% higher versus 2017, per the EIA.

Refinery utilization decreased by 0.5 % vs. last week’s numbers, to 90.4 %. Gasoline production decreased 0.101 million barrels per day to 10 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production rose to 5.02 million barrels per day last week

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows:
East Coast: 90.4% (+/- 0%)
Midwest: 77.6% (-1.5%)
Gulf Coast 94.0% (-0.6%)
Rocky Mountain 98.7% (+6.1%)
West Coast 97.5% (+1.6%)

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 a given region have low output, your gas prices are likely to rise.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down by 74.6 million barrels (- 7.1 %) versus a year ago and stand at 1.064 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 7.65 MMbpd of crude oil per day last week, down by 163 thousand barrels vs. the previous week, while crude oil exports fell 917,000 bpd to 1.723 MMbpd. Total motor gasoline imports last week, averaged 713,000 bpd. The U.S. also imported 51,000 bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 816,000 bpd of finished gasoline and 1,564,000 bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 5.675 MMbpd of oil and petroleum products.

Shortly before the EIA report was released, oil was trading down 32 cents at $74.93 a barrel. Shortly after the report was released oil reversed course, up 54 cents a barrel.

Senior Petroleum Analyst, Canada

Dan is a skilled and noted bilingual (French and English) consumer advocate specializing in energy and current affairs. Known as Canada's “Gas Guru,” he founded to better help motorists anticipate the price of gasoline in advance across Canada. He has over three decades of experience in the petroleum industry, as a parliamentarian and an analyst.