US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed Apr 29 09:30:00 CDT 2015

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) 1.9M barrels 5.3M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) 1.7M barrels -2.1M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) -0.1M barrels 0.4M barrels

Oil inventories posted their 15th straight build in the April 24 week but, at only 1.9 million barrels, the build is on the small side. Still, at 490.0 million barrels, oil inventories are at a new 80-year high.

Contributing to the smaller build was a decline in weekly oil imports and an increase in inputs to refineries which operated at an active 91.3 percent rate in the week. Other data include a build for gasoline, up 1.7 million barrels, and a fractional draw for distillates at 0.1 million.

The small build for oil is giving a sharp lift to oil which is up more than 50 cents and testing $58.50 for WTI following today's report.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides weekly information on petroleum inventories in the U.S., whether produced here or abroad. The level of inventories helps determine prices for petroleum products.

Petroleum product prices are determined by supply and demand - just like any other good and service. During periods of strong economic growth, one would expect demand to be robust. If inventories are low, this will lead to increases in crude oil prices - or price increases for a wide variety of petroleum products such as gasoline or heating oil. If inventories are high and rising in a period of strong demand, prices may not need to increase at all, or as much. During a period of sluggish economic activity, demand for crude oil may not be as strong. If inventories are rising, this may push down oil prices.

Crude oil is an important commodity in the global market. Prices fluctuate depending on supply and demand conditions in the world. Since oil is such an important part of the economy, it can also help determine the direction of inflation. In the U.S., consumer prices have moderated whenever oil prices have fallen, but have accelerated when oil prices have risen.