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Oil and distillate inventories swell while gasoline sees a small draw


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 6.8 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 412.2 MMbbl. At 412.2 MMbbl, inventories are 54 MMbbl below last year (11%) and are 1% above the five year average for this time of year. Stockpiles at the major delivery point in Cushing, OK, rose 1.64 MMbbl to a total of 23.45 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories fell 0.7 million barrels to a total of 233.1 MMbbl. At 233.1 MMbbl, inventories are up 2 MMbbl, or 1% higher than a year ago and are about 0.3% lower than the five year average range for this time of year.

Here’s how individual regions and their and their gasoline inventories fared:
East Coast (- 0.7 MMbbl)
MidWest (- 0.2 MMbbl)
Gulf Coast (+ 0.7 MMbbl)
Rockies (- 0.2 MMbbl)
West Coast (- 0.1 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 increased by 3.6 million barrels last week, to a total of 128.9 MMbbl. At 128.9 MMbbl, inventories are down 19.5 MMbbl, or 18% lower vs a year ago. Distillate inventories now stand at 8 percent below the five year average range for his time of year.

Gasoline supplied to end users amounted to 9.51 MMbbl per day or 170,000 bpd higher than the previous week. So far in 2018, implied (“products supplied”) is 1.4% higher versus 2017, per the EIA.

Refinery utilization increased by 1.5 % vs. last week’s numbers to 98.1 %. Gasoline production increased 0.27 million barrels per day to 10.28 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production rose to 5.337 million barrels per day last week

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows:
East Coast: 93.1% (-0.7%)
Midwest: 98.9% (-0.5%)
Gulf Coast 99.7% (+ 2.4%)
Rocky Mountain 85.5% (+0.1%)
West Coast 96.6% (+2.2%)

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 up by 6.8 million barrels ( + 0.6%) versus a year ago and stand at 1.227 billion barrels (excluding he Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

he U.S. imported 9.04 MMbpd of crude oil per day last week, up by 1.083 million barrels vs. the previous week, while crude oil exports fell 258,000 bpd to 1.592 MMbpd. Total motor gasoline imports last week, averaged 633,000 bpd. The U.S. also imported 54,000 bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 935,000 bpd of finished gasoline and 1,043,000 bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 6.89 MMbpd of oil and petroleum products.

Shortly before the EIA report was released, oil was trading down 10 cents at $66.94 a barrel. Shortly after the report was released oil accelerated its losses, down $2.25 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.