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Oil inventories rise but fall below average, 96 million barrels lower vs year ago


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 increased by 1.8 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 422.1 MMbbl. At 422.1 MMbbl, inventories are 96.0 MMbbl below last year (18.5%) and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Inventories at the major delivery point in Cushing, OK fell 3.6 MMbbl to a total of 32.7 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories increased by 3.6 million barrels (MMbbl) to a total of 249.1 MMbbl. At 249.1 MMbbl, inventories are down 10.0 MMbbl, or 3.9% lower than a year ago and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Here’s how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared:
• East Coast (+1.1 MMbbl)
• Midwest (+0.6 MMbbl)
• Gulf Coast (+2.3 MMbbl)
• Rockies (+0.3 MMbbl)
• West Coast (-0.6 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 inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels to a total of 141.4 MMbbl. At 141.4 MMbbl, inventories are down 28.7 MMbbl, or 16.9% lower vs. a year ago.

Gasoline supplied to end users amounted to 9.06 million barrels per day (MMbpd), or 51,000bpd lower than the previous week. So far in 2018, implied demand (“products supplied”) is 6.4% higher versus 2017, per the EIA.

Refinery utilization decreased by 2.7% vs. last week’s numbers to 89.8%. Gasoline production decreased to 9.6 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production decreased to 4.8 million barrels per day last week.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows:
• East Coast: 84.7% (-11.5%)
• Midwest: 93.4% (-1.6%)
• Gulf Coast: 89.4% (-3.3%)
• Rocky Mountain: 95.8% (+4.9%)
• West Coast: 87.1% (-0.1%)

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 gas prices rise.

Total oil stocks in the United States are down by 153.1 MMbbl (-11.3%) versus a year ago and stand at 1.207 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

The U.S. imported 7.89 MMbpd of crude oil per day last week, down by 4,000 bpd vs. the previous week, while crude oil exports rose 35,000 bpd to 1,322,000 bpd. Total motor gasoline imports last week averaged 638,000 bpd. The U.S. also imported 236,000 bpd of distillate fuels.

However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 639,000 bpd of finished gasoline and 1,031,000 bpd of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 6.3 MMbpd of oil and petroleum products.

Shortly before the EIA report was released, oil was trading down 83 cents at $58.36 per barrel. Shortly after the report was released, oil prices were down 5 cents per barrel.

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