US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Thu May 31 10:00:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories (weekly change) -3.6M barrels 5.8M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change) 0.5M barrels 1.9M barrels
Distillates (weekly change) 0.6M barrels -1.0M barrels

Crude oil inventories fell 3.6 million barrels in the May 25 week to 434.5 million, 14.8 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories slightly increased, with gasoline up 0.5 million barrels to 234.4 million, 3.8 percent below last year at this time and distillates up 0.6 million barrels to 114.6 million, 21.9 percent lower year-on-year. The decline in crude oil inventories contrasted with a 1.0 million increase reported Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group. WTI prices rose about 65 cents to around $68 per barrel immediately following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries ramped up in the week to operate at 93.9 percent of their operable capacity, up 2.1 percentage points from the prior week. Production rose sharply, averaging 10.4 million barrels per day for gasoline and 5.3 million per day for distillates.

Crude oil imports fell to an average of 7.6 million barrels per day, down by 528,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last 4 weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.7 million barrels per day, 5.5 percent less than in the same period last year.

Domestic crude oil production over the last 4 weeks averaged 10.7 million barrels per day, 15.1 percent more than in the comparable period last year.

Overall product demand remains steady, with total products supplied over the last 4 weeks averaging 20.7 million barrels per day, up 1.3 percent from the same period last year. Demand for the main products remains softer, with gasoline supplied averaging 9.7 million barrels per day during the period, up 0.8 percent from the same time last year, while supplied distillates averaged 4.1 million barrels per day, down 1.5 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.