Crude oil prices continued to climbed higher. The front-month WTI contract has strengthened for six consecutive days. The latest catalyst is another week of surprising decline in US inventory. The report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that total crude oil and petroleum products (ex. SPR) stocks rose 5.04 mmb to 1399.92 mmb in the week ended May 15. Crude oil inventory declined -4.98 mmb (consensus: +1.15 mmb) to 526.49 mmb. Stockpile fell in 3 out of 5 PADDs. PADD 2 (Midwest) alone saw a decline of -5.84 mmb. Cushing stock sank -5.59 mmb to 56.86 mmb, leaving the storage capacity to about 74% full. Utilization rate rose +1.5 percentage points to 69.4% while crude production slipped -0.1M bpd to 11.5M bpd for the week. Crude oil imports slipped -0.19M bpd to 5.2M bpd in the week.

Concerning refined oil product inventories, gasoline inventory added +2.83 mmb to 255.72 mmb as demand fell -8.22% to 6.79M bpd. The market had anticipated a -2.13 mmb decrease in stockpile. Production dropped -4.42% to 7.17M bpd while imports gained +8.23% to 0.53M bpd during the week. Distillate inventory gained +3.83 mmb to 158.83 mmb. The market had anticipated a +1.43 mmb increase. Demand jumped +22% to 3.82 bpd. Production slipped -1.8% to 4.8 mmb while imports soared +66.84% to 0.32M bpd during the week.

Released after market close on Wednesday, the industry-sponsored API estimated that crude oil inventory plunged -4.8 mmb during the week. For refined oil products, gasoline stockpile dropped -0.65 mmb while distillate rose +5.1 mmb.

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