US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed May 02 09:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) 6.2M barrels 2.2M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) 1.2M barrels 0.8M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) -3.9M barrels -2.6M barrels

Crude oil inventories rose 6.2 million barrels in the April 27 week to 436.0 million, 17.4 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories were mixed, with gasoline up 1.2 million barrels to 238.0 million, 1.3 percent below last year at this time, but distillates down 3.9 million barrels to 118.8 million, 21.0 percent lower year-on-year. The second consecutive weekly rise in crude oil inventories was larger than the 3.4 million barrel build reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices, already weaker after falling in reaction to the data from the API, extended the decline by another 30 cents to around $67.00 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries operated at 91.1 percent of their operable capacity during the week, up 0.3 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production rose, averaging 10.0 million barrels per day, while production of distillates remained unchanged, averaging 5.0 million barrels per day.

Crude oil imports rose slightly during the week, averaging 8.5 million barrels per day. The 4-week average rose to 8.4 million barrels per day, 2.2 percent above the level of crude oil imports in the same period last year.

Domestic crude oil production over the last four weeks rose to 10.6 million barrels per day, 14.1 percent higher than the production rate a year ago.

Overall product demand continued to soften, with total product supplied over the last four weeks averaging 20.1 million barrels per day, shrinking the year-on-year gain to 2.7 percent. Demand for the main petroleum products continued to lag and remained even softer, with motor gasoline supplied averaging 9.3 million barrels per day, up 1.2 percent from the level a year ago, while distillates supplied averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, only 0.1 percent higher than 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.