Oil Inventories Create Renewed Scare for Oil Bulls

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On a day where the news flow is dominated by a shooting of Representative Steve Scalise and several other people outside of Washington, D.C., it is easy to overlook some of the other critical news alerts that would have otherwise dominated the news. Oil prices skidded lower after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) released inventory data that disappointed the markets.

The EIA weekly data signaled that domestic crude oil supplies fell by about 1.7 million barrels last week. A drop in oil inventories in the earlier part of summer is generally anticipated. That being said, there was a broader decline that had been expected. Dow Jones listed a consensus estimate closer to a 2.6 million barrel decline.

Along with a lower drop in crude inventories, the oil supplies inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels, versus a 700,000 barrel decline expected by Dow Jones. Distillates rose by 300,000 barrels last week.

A separate reading from the IEA showed that global oil stockpiles in industrialized nations rose by 18.6 million barrels in April. Those inventories were also said to be about 292 million barrels higher than the five-year average.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia will slash oil exports to the United States to what may be almost a 30-year low for this time of the year. Its state-owned oil giant was shown to be expecting to drop to under 1 million barrels per day in June and to about 850,000 barrels per day in July.

OPEC’s most recent production cuts failed to enthuse oil markets at all, and Saudi Arabia’s lower exports to the United States may only buffer larger supplies coming from a larger and larger weekly oil rig count in the United States

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was last seen trading down almost 4%, or $1.75, to $44.71 per barrel.

After the supply and inventories news, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEMKT: XOP) was last seen down $1.47 (4.4%) to $32.19. Its 52-week trading range is $31.37 to $44.97 and the recovery off the lows had been more than 7% prior to this drop.

The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) was down 4.2% at $25.39, in a 52-week range of $25.00 to $36.35. This ETF had recovered by 6% from its fresh lows seen in the past week.

Other key energy stock moves were seen as follows:

  • Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was down 2.2% at $105.95, in a 52-week range of $97.53 to $119.00.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) was down 1.6% at $81.65, and its 52-week range is $79.26 to $95.55.
  • Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) was down 2.8% to $67.43, in a 52-week range of $67.34 to $87.84.

More speculative names in the energy patch were down even worse:

  • Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was down 11% at $5.98, in a 52-week range of $5.65 to $13.39.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was down 5.5% to $4.99, versus a 52-week range of $3.93 to $8.20.