US: EIA Petroleum Status Report

August 15, 2018 09:30 CDT

Actual Previous
Crude oil inventories [weekly change] 6.8M barrels -1.4M barrels
Gasoline [weekly change] -0.7M barrels 2.9M barrels
Distillates [weekly change] 3.6M barrels 1.2M barrels

Crude oil inventories rose 6.8 million barrels in the August 10 week to 414.2 million, 11.2 percent below their level a year ago. Product inventories were mixed, with gasoline down 0.7 million barrels to 233.1 million, 0.9 percent above the year ago level, while distillates rose 3.6 million barrels to 129.0 million, down 13.1 percent year-on-year. The crude oil build was much larger than the 3.7 million barrel increase reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a private industry group, which also reported a larger decline of 1.6 million barrels for gasoline and a smaller build of 1.9 million billion for distillates. WTI prices fell by about $1.00 to around $64.80 per barrel following the release of the EIA report.

Refineries ramped up to operate at 98.1 percent of their operable capacity, up 1.5 percentage points from the prior week. Production increased, with gasoline averaging 10.2 million barrels per day and distillates 5.3 million barrels per day.

Crude oil imports rose sharply by 1.083 million barrels per day from the previous week to an average of 9.0 million barrels per day. But the 4-week average remained unchanged from the prior week at 8.1 million barrels per day, 0.9 percent above the level a year ago.

Domestic crude oil production was steady, averaging 10.9 million barrels per day over the last 4 weeks, 15.5 percent more than last year at this time.

Overall product demand declined, averaging 20.8 million barrels per day over the last 4 weeks, down 1.6 percent from the level a year ago. Demand for the main products also declined, at 9.6 million barrels per day for gasoline down 1.6 percent year-on-year and at 3.9 million per day for distillates down 8.7 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.