US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Wed May 23 09:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) 5.8M barrels -1.4M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) 1.9M barrels -3.8M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) -1.0M barrels -0.1M barrels

Crude oil inventories rose 5.8 million barrels in the May 18 week to 438.1 million, 15.1 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories were mixed, with gasoline up 1.9 million barrels to 233.9 million, 3.8 percent below last year at this time, but distillates down 1.0 million barrels to 114.0 million, 22.1 percent lower year-on-year. The sizable crude oil build contrasted with a 1.3 million draw reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices fell about 70 cents to around $71.30 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries operated at 91.8 percent of the operable capacity during the week, up 0.7 percentage points from the prior week. Gasoline production increased, averaging 10.0 million barrels per day, but the production of distillates fell to an average of 4.9 million barrels per day.

Crude oil imports rose to an average of 8.2 million barrels per day, up 558,000 barrels per day from the previous week. But the 4-week average of crude oil imports fell to an average of 7.9 million barrels per day, down 3.5 percent from the same period a year ago.

Domestic crude oil production over the last 4 weeks averaged 10.7 million barrels per day, 14.9 percent more than last year at this time.

Overall product demand rose slightly, with total production supplied over the last 4 weeks averaging 20.4 million barrels per day, up 1.5 percent from the same period last year. Demand from the main petroleum products was mixed during the period, slightly stronger for supplied motor gasoline which averaged 9.4 million barrels per day, up 1.0 percent from the same period last year, but a little weaker for supplied distillates, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day and down 1.9 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.