Oil markets fell ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, dragged down by a fifth straight weekly increase in U.S. crude inventories on the back of record high production.
Below we review the EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week ending Nov 22.
Crude Oil: The federal government’s EIA report revealed that crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels, compared to the 600,000 barrels decrease that energy analysts had expected. Surging production, which climbed to yet another record high of 12.9 million barrels per day, largely drove the surprise stockpile build with the world's biggest oil consumer. This puts the total domestic stocks at 452 million barrels – 0.3% above the year-ago figure and 3% higher than the five-year average.
Meanwhile, the oil market drew some support from stockpile draw at the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma. The key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange saw inventories fall 97,000 barrels to 44.1 million barrels.
The crude supply cover – at 28.1 days – was unchanged from the previous week. In the year-ago period, the supply cover was 26.8 days.
Turning to products, and it is a fairly bearish story.
Gasoline: Gasoline supplies increased for the third straight week. The fuel’s 5.1 million barrels jump is attributable to higher production and imports. Analysts had forecast 1.6 million barrels climb. At 226 million barrels, the current stock of the most widely used petroleum product is 0.6% above the year-earlier level and exceeds the five-year average range by 4%.
Distillate: Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) were up for the first time in 10 weeks. The 725,000 barrels increase was significantly lower than the supply climb of 1.7 million barrels that analysts were looking for. Current supplies – at 116.4 million barrels – are 4.4% lower than the year-ago level and remain 12% below than the five-year average.
Refinery Rates: Refinery utilization was down 0.2% from the prior week to 89.3%.
About the Weekly Petroleum Status Report
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status Report, containing data of the previous week ending Friday, outlines information regarding the weekly change in petroleum inventories held and produced by the United States, both locally and abroad.
The report provides an overview of the level of reserves and their movements, thereby helping investors understand the demand/supply dynamics of petroleum products. It is an indicator of current oil prices and volatility that affect the businesses of the companies engaged in the oil and refining industry.
The data from EIA generally acts as a catalyst for crude prices and affect producers such as ExxonMobil XOM, Chevron CVX and ConocoPhillips COP and refiners such as Valero Energy VLO and Marathon Petroleum MPC.
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