Energy Economy

Crude Oil Price Dips on Inventory Addition of 2.8 Million Barrels

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 482.8 million barrels. The commercial crude inventory remains near levels not seen at this time of year in at least the past 80 years.

Tuesday evening, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels in the week ending October 30. For the same period, analysts had estimated an increase of 2.45 million barrels in crude inventories.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 3.3 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, but remain above the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the agency’s measure of consumption) averaged 9.2 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, up by 2.5% compared with the same period a year ago.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices bounced around $46 a barrel for most of the week before popping above $48 a barrel on reports of lower future production from Libya and the beginning of a strike in Brazil against Petrobras. The Brazilian company said Tuesday that the strike cut 13% from its Monday production, or about 273,000 barrels, based on September production of around 2 million barrels a day. Petrobras said that Tuesday’s production would likely fall by 8.5%.

In Libya, political conflict has once again halted shipments of the country’s crude. The port of Zueitina has been closed indefinitely, according to a report from Bloomberg. Libyan output totaled about 430,000 barrels a day before the closure, far below its 1.6 million barrel per day total prior to the overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. Following the port’s closure, Libyan production is expected to drop below 400,000 barrels a day.

ALSO READ: Credit Suisse Says Winter Is Coming: 4 Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now

In the futures market last week, hedge funds added to their futures short positions on WTI crude oil. In the Commitment of Traders report for October 27, published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last Friday, hedge funds added 27,694 short contracts last week and 7,073 long contracts. Managed money holds 273,436 long positions, compared with 134,264 short positions. Open interest increased by 62,471 contracts to 1,676,033 week over week.

Before the EIA report, WTI crude for December delivery traded down about 0.9% at around $47.50 a barrel. The WTI price fell to around $47.40 immediately following the report’s release, down about 1% on the day. The 52-week range on WTI futures is $39.22 to $80.33.

Distillate inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels last week and remain in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Distillate product supplied averaged over 3.9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up by 8.9% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production averaged 4.9 million barrels a day last week, flat compared with the prior week’s production.

For the past week, crude imports averaged over 6.9 million barrels a day, down by 89,000 barrels a day compared with the previous week. Refineries were running at 88.7% of capacity, with daily input of over 15.6 million barrels, about 21,000 barrels a day above the previous week’s average. Refinery throughput is now about 380,000 barrels a day higher than it was three weeks ago as refiners complete turnaround and maintenance and return to production.

ALSO READ: Credit Suisse Raises Price Targets on 4 Refining Stocks to Buy

According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.199, essentially flat with a week ago and down from $2.291 a month ago. Last year at this time, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $2.973 on average in the United States.

Here is a look at how share prices for two blue-chip stocks and two exchange traded funds reacted to this latest report.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded down about 0.5%, at $86.38 in a 52-week range of $66.55 to $97.20. Year to date, Exxon stock traded down about 6.5% and is down about 8.6% since early November of 2014, as of Tuesday’s close.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down about 1%, at $97.17 in a 52-week range of $69.58 to $119.73. As of Tuesday’s close, Chevron shares have dropped about 13% year to date and trade down more than 15% since early November 2014.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) traded down about 1.5%, at $15.04 in a 52-week range of $12.37 to $30.17.

The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) traded down about 0.9% to $32.25, in a 52-week range of $26.00 to $45.95.

ALSO READ: 5 Energy Stocks Analysts Want You to Buy Now