Crude Oil Price Rises on Modest Addition to Inventories

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Thursday morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 600,000 barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 518.7 million barrels, the highest level since the EIA began keeping records in 1982. The commercial crude inventory remained above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Wednesday evening the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories fell by 884,000 barrels in the week ending February 17. API also reported gasoline supplies decreased by 893,000 barrels and distillate inventories decreased by 4.2 million barrels. For the same period, analysts had estimated an increase of 3.5 million barrels in crude inventories, a decline of 888,000 barrels in gasoline inventories, and a drop of 483,000 barrels in distillate stockpiles.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 2.6 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, and remain at the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the agency’s measure of consumption) averaged over 8.6 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, down by 5.2% compared with the same period a year ago.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) announced on Wednesday that its proved reserves total at the end of 2016 amounted to 20 billion barrels. The total includes a reduction of 3.5 billion barrels at the company’s Kearl oil sands project in Alberta and another 800 million barrels scattered around North America. Additions to proved reserves of around 1 billion barrels helped narrow the loss.

Over the past 10 years, Exxon said it has added proved oil and gas reserves totaling approximately 13 billion oil-equivalent barrels, including the impact of asset sales, replacing 82% of produced volumes.

We have a longer look at the Exxon announcement available here.

Before the EIA report, benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April delivery traded up about 1.8% at around $54.56 a barrel and rose to $54.94 after the report’s release. WTI crude settled at $53.59 on Tuesday. The 52-week range on April futures is $40.97 to $56.92.

Distillate inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels last week but remain above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Distillate product supplied averaged about 4 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up 14.4% compared with the same period last year. Distillate production averaged 4.5 million barrels a day last week, unchanged compared with the prior week’s production.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 7.3 million barrels a day, down by about 1.2 million barrels a day compared with the previous week. Refineries were running at 84.3% of capacity, with daily input averaging 15.3 million barrels, about 187,000 barrels a day less than the previous week’s average.

According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.285, up from $2.284 a week ago and down 2.5 cents compared with the month-ago price. Last year at this time, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $1.705 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 up about 1%, at $81.72 in a 52-week range of $80.02 to $95.55. Over the past 12 months, Exxon stock has traded down about 0.4% and is down about 21.6% since August 2014, as of Wednesday’s close.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded up about 0.7%, at $111.17 in a 52-week range of $83.07 to $119.00. As of last night’s close, Chevron shares have added 30% over the past 12 months and trade down more than 17% since August 2014.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) traded up about 1.5%, at $11.53 in a 52-week range of $8.28 to $12.45.

The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) traded down about 0.2% at $32.26, in a 52-week range of $22.73 to $36.35.