U.S. Crude Oil and Gasoline Inventories Rise

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories experienced a notable increase last week. This rise can be attributed to refineries increasing their capacity usage and U.S. crude output reaching a record level.

Crude Oil Stockpiles

During the week ending December 15, commercial crude-oil stockpiles (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose by 2.9 million barrels, bringing the total to 443.7 million barrels. While this figure is approximately 1% below the five-year average for this time of year, analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had anticipated a decrease of 2.5 million barrels.

Additionally, storage in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve increased by 629,000 barrels, leading to a total of 352.5 million barrels.

Cushing, Oklahoma

Oil stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, which serves as the Nymex delivery hub, experienced a rise of 1.7 million barrels, totaling 32.5 million barrels.

Record Crude Oil Production

The EIA reported that U.S. crude oil production reached a new record of 13.3 million barrels per day. This is an increase of 200,000 barrels per day from the previous week and 1.2 million barrels per day compared to the previous year.

Impact on Crude Futures

The rising concerns regarding Houthi rebel attacks on shipping in the Red Sea have impacted the crude futures market. As a result, crude futures were gaining ground on Wednesday and reached their highest level since the beginning of December. The anticipation of potential transport delays and higher costs led to an increase in prices.

As of Wednesday, the Nymex crude contract for February was up by 1.6% at $75.10 a barrel, while February Brent rose by 1.5% to $80.43.

This data showcases the current state of U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories, highlighting the factors contributing to the rise and their impact on the market.

Gasoline Stockpiles Rise, Demand Falls in US

Gasoline stockpiles in the United States saw a significant increase, rising by 2.7 million barrels to reach 226.7 million barrels. This surge in stockpiles was well above the anticipated rise of 700,000 barrels, according to a recent survey conducted by the Journal. Despite the increase, gasoline inventories remain slightly below the five-year average, at about 2%, as reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Although gasoline production experienced growth, reaching 10 million barrels per day from the previous week’s 9.5 million barrels per day, demand, measured by product supplied, witnessed a decline of 105,000 barrels per day, dropping to 8.8 million barrels per day, according to the EIA.

On the other hand, distillate stocks, primarily consisting of diesel fuel, increased by 1.5 million barrels, totaling 115 million barrels. Despite this build-up, distillate stocks remain about 10% below the five-year average. Analysts had expected a smaller build-up of 700,000 barrels.

The refining capacity utilization rate witnessed a notable increase of 2.2 percentage points, reaching 92.4%, surpassing the rate of 90.9% recorded during the same period last year. Analysts’ projections had estimated a more modest increase of 0.2 percentage points, reaching 90.4%.

Change in US Oil Inventories for the Week Ended Dec. 15:

  • Crude: +2.9 million barrels
  • Gasoline: +2.7 million barrels
  • Distillates: +1.5 million barrels
  • Refinery Use: +2.2 percentage points

Note: All numbers are in millions of barrels except for refinery use, which is presented in percentage points.

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