US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed May 09 09:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) -2.2M barrels 6.2M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) -2.2M barrels 1.2M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) -3.8M barrels -3.9M barrels

Crude oil inventories fell 2.2 million barrels in the May 4 week to 433.8 million, 17.0 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories also declined, with gasoline down 2.2 million barrels to 235.8 million, 2.2 percent below last year at this time, and distillates down 3.8 million barrels to 115.0 million, 22.7 percent lower year-on-year. The draws in crude oil and gasoline were roughly in line with the 1.9 million and 2.1 million barrel respective draws reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry, but the API draw in distillates was a much larger 6.7 million barrels. WTI prices, which Tuesday rose to the highest level since 2014, boosted by President Trump's signing of the withdrawal of the U.S. from the nuclear pact with Iran, rose by another 30 cents to new highs at around $71.25 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries operated at 90.4 percent of their operable capacity during the week, down 0.7 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production fell to an average of 9.9 million barrels per day while the production of distillates remained unchanged, averaging 5.0 million barrels per day.

Crude oil imports fell sharply by 1.2 million barrels per day from the previous week to an average of 7.3 million barrels per day. The 4-week average of crude oil imports fell to 8.1 million barrels per day, down 1.0 percent from the same period last year.

Domestic crude oil production over the last four weeks averaged 10.6 million barrels per day, 14.3 percent above the level produced in the same period a year ago.

Overall product demand remained stable, with total product supplied over the last four weeks averaging 20.3 million barrels per day, up 2.7 percent from the same period last year. Demand for the main petroleum products firmed, with motor gasoline supplied averaging 9.5 million barrels per day, up 2.2 percent from the level a year ago, while distillates supplied averaged 4.2 million barrels per day, up 4.1 percent year-on-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.