US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed Apr 04 09:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) -4.6M barrels 1.6M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) -1.1M barrels -3.5M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) 0.5M barrels -2.1M barrels

Crude oil inventories fell 4.6 million barrels in the March 30 week to 425.3 million, 20.6 percent below their level a year ago. Inventories of gasoline fell 1.1 million barrels in the week to 238.5 million, 0.3 percent below last year at this time, while distillates rose 0.5 million barrels to 129.5 million, 15.0 percent less than last year. The EIA crude oil drawdown was larger than the draw of 3.3 million barrels reported Tuesday afternoon by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group, and the EIA's draw in gasoline also contrasted with an API build of the same proportion. WTI prices rose about 45 cents to around $62.75 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries operated at 93 percent of their operable capacity during the week, up 0.7 percentage points from the prior week. But gasoline production nevertheless declined, averaging 10.1 million barrels per day, while the production of distillates did rise to an average of 5.0 million barrels per day.

Imports of crude oil resumed their decline after the prior week's uncommon increase and were down by 250,000 barrels per day to an average of 7.9 million barrels per day. The 4-week average remained at 7.7 million barrels per day, 3.4 percent less than in the same period last year.

Domestic crude oil production over the last four weeks averaged 10.4 million barrels per day, 13.9 percent above the level a year ago.

Overall product demand continues to rise, with total product supplied over the last four weeks averaging 20.9 million barrels per day, up a sharp 7.0 percent from the same period last year. But demand for the main product categories continues to lag, with gasoline supplied falling slightly to an average of 9.3 million barrels per day, up 0.4 percent from the same period last year, while distillates supplied averaged 4.0 million barrels per day, down 4.4 percent from the same 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.