Crude Oil Supplies Rise, Prices Steady

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. US commercial crude inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week, bringing the total US commercial crude inventory to 366.4 million barrels, above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories fell by 500,000 barrels last week and near the lower limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 8.7 million barrels a day over the past four weeks -- a drop of 3.3% compared with the same period a year ago.

Estimates from Platts called for a weekly crude inventory rise of 1.5 million barrels. Gasoline inventories were expected to remain flat. Distillate supplies (heating oil and diesel fuel) were projected to fall by 400,000 barrels. Crude prices, which had fallen to near $92 a barrel before the report was released, have remained about flat following the EIA report and are up about 1.3% on the day so far.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 8.2 million barrels a day, an increase of about 112,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 86.7% of capacity, with daily input of 14.7 million barrels a day, 97,000 barrels a day lower than the previous week.

Distillate inventories fell by 3.2 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.8 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, down 3.5% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.3 million barrels a day last week, down by about 300,000 barrels a day from the prior week.

Refinery utilization is lower this week, likely due to problems with refineries on the U.S. West Coast, which were still recovering from fires, power outages, and pipeline problems.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is up 1.5% at $34.33 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $42.30.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is up about 0.1% at $61.74. The 52-week range is $44.98 to $62.13.

Paul Ausick


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