US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

February 1, 2017 09:30 CST

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) 6.5M barrels 2.8M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) 3.9M barrels 6.8M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) 1.6M barrels 0.1M barrels

Crude oil inventories rose 6.5 million barrels in the January 27 week to 494.8 million and were up 5.0 percent from last year at this time. Product inventories also rose, with motor gasoline up 3.9 million barrels to 257.1 million, increasing the year-on-year gain to 1.1 percent, while distillates were up 1.6 million barrels to 170.7 million, 6.9 percent above the year ago level.

Crude oil imports averaged 8.3 million barrels per day in the week, up by 480,000 barrels per day from the prior week. Average imports over the last 4 weeks ran at 8.4 million barrels per day, 5.3 percent above the same period a year ago.

Refineries operated at 88.3 percent of their operable capacity, unchanged from the prior week, but production increased, averaging 9.1 million barrels per day for gasoline and 4.7 million barrels per day for distillates.

On the demand side, total products supplied over the last 4 weeks averaged 19.3 million barrels, down 1.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Of this amount, supplied gasoline averaged about 8.2 million barrels per day, down by 5.7 percent from the level last year, while distillates supplied averaged 3.7 million barrels per day, 5.0 percent above the level a year ago.

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.