By May 17, 2017 Read More →

US crude stocks draw down for sixth week: EIA

US crude stocks

US crude stocks fell less than anticipated, but enough to help boost oil prices on Wednesday. Reuters file photo by Nick Oxford.

US crude stocks down by 1.8 million barrels

The United States Energy Information Administration reported that US crude stocks fell by 1.8 million barrels last week, not as high as the 2.4 million barrels anticipated, but enough to bolster oil prices on Wednesday.

US crude futures rose to a high of $49.50/barrel before a modest retreat later in the day.  Crude was up 67 cents to $49.32/barrel by 10:48 a.m. EDT and Brent rose 81 cents to $52.45/barrel.

Crude prices are currently 8 per cent below April’s peak of $53.76/barrel.

OPEC and non-OPEC members participating in the OPEC supply cut agreement have shown impressive compliance with their pledges to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day (b/d).  However, analysts remain concerned the increase in US production will undercut OPEC’s efforts.

This year, the EIA forecasts US production to average 9.31 million b/d. However, this week’s EIA data showed US production dipped slightly, falling by 9,000 b/d to 9.305 million b/d, the first decline in 13 weeks.

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US crude stocks have fallen slightly since hitting a record high of 535.5 million barrels at the end of March.  The EIA reports total US inventories are at 520.8 million barrels, down by 3 per cent.

US crude imports rose by 577,000 b/d last week and US crude exports grew by 400,000 b/d.

Gasoline stocks fell by 413,000 barrels, disappointing some analysts who expected inventories to fall by 731,000 barrels.

“The numbers beneath the surface were rather mixed with gasoline stocks falling only slightly on weaker demand and sharply higher imports suggesting sufficient availability of crude oil internationally despite OPEC cuts,” Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, Germany told Reuters.

Refinery crude runs rose by 363,000 b/d while utilization rates rose by 1.9 per cent to 93.4 per cent of total capacity.  US Gulf Coast refinery utilization rose by 3.1 per cent to 96.5 per cent, the highest since August, 2015.

EIA data shows distillate stocks, including diesel and heating oil, down by 1.9 million barrels.  Analysts had expected a 1.1 million barrel decline.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma deliver hub were up by 35,000 barrels, according to the EIA.


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