US Petroleum Inventories Jump, Imports Rise Sharply

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The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. US commercial crude inventories jumped by 7.1 million barrels last week, bringing the total US commercial crude inventory to 353.4 million barrels, around the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

A Platts survey provided a consensus estimate for a weekly inventory gain of 2.75 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute had noted an inventory gain of 3.6 million barrels. The unexpectedly large increase in inventories, coupled with the rumors of a co-ordinated release of crude from national strategic reserves (our story here) are pushing crude prices down sharply this morning.

Total gasoline inventories fell by 3.5 million barrels last week and remain in the upper limit of the five-year average range. Over the last four weeks, gasoline supplied has declined by -6.1% compared to the same period last year. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 8.4 million barrels/day for the four weeks.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 9.3 million barrels/day, up by 1 million barrels/day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 84.5% of capacity, with daily input of nearly 14.5 million barrels/day, up by 88,000 barrels/day from the previous week.

The rise in imports and in refinery utilization and inputs indicates that more refined products are being exported as US drivers continue to drive less.

According to gasbuddy.com, US gasoline prices average $3.883/gallon today, compared with a pump price of $3.844 a week ago. AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report shows today’s price at $3.911 (our coverage here).