US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed Mar 14 09:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) 5.0M barrels 2.4M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) -6.3M barrels -0.8M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) -4.4M barrels -0.6M barrels

Crude oil inventories rose 5.0 million barrels in the March 9 week to 430.9 million, 18.4 percent below their level a year ago. But product inventories fell sharply, with gasoline down 6.3 million barrels to 244.8 million, 0.6 percent below last year at this time, and distillates down 4.4 million barrels to 133.1 million, 15.4 percent lower than they were a year ago. The EIA's third consecutive weekly build in crude oil was much larger than the 1.2 million barrel increase reported Tuesday to its subscribers by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices fell about 20 cents to around $60.70 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries operated at 90.0 percent of their operable capacity during the week, up 0.1 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production increased to an average of 10.3 million barrels per day while the production of distillates declined, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

Crude oil imports fell by 481,000 barrels per day in the week to an average of 7.6 million barrels per day. The 4-week average remained at 7.5 million barrels per day, 1.8 percent less than in the same period last year.

Domestic crude oil production over the last four weeks averaged 10.3 million barrels per day, up 14.0 percent from the level a year ago.

Demand remains strong and steady overall, with total products supplied averaging 20.4 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up 3.2 percent from the same period last year. Year-on-year comparisons for the main product categories are softer, however, as motor gasoline supplied averaged 9.2 million barrels per day during the period, 2.5 percent more than a year ago, while distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.0 million barrels per day, down 4.2 percent year-on-year. Demand strength is most apparent in other products, such as jet fuel, which is up 11.2 percent compared to the same 4-week period last year.

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.