Analysis of U.S. EIA data: U.S. crude oil stocks jumped 4.1 million barrels last week

New York - October 30, 2013

U.S. crude oil stocks rose 4.1 million barrels for the reporting week ended October 25, led by a jump in U.S. Gulf Coast (USGC) inventories as refiners in that region reduced run rates, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed Wednesday.

At 383.9 million barrels for the week ended October 25, U.S. commercial crude oil stocks were more than 10% above the EIA five-year average.

Analysts polled Monday were expecting a build, but closer to 3.5 million barrels.

Builds were seen across all regions of the U.S., except the U.S. Atlantic Coast (USAC), rising the most in the USGC. USGC crude oil stocks were up 2.8 million barrels to 197.2 million barrels the week ended October 25.

Refiners in that region lowered their utilization rates by 1.4 percentage points to 86% of capacity, which is part of a seasonal maintenance turnaround period. At the same time, imports of crude oil to the USGC fell 202,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 3.47 million b/d, which is well under imports of 3.96 million b/d seen during the same reporting week in 2012.

Overall, U.S. crude oil imports fell 197,000 b/d to 7.46 million b/d, led by a 489,000 b/d drop in imports from Angola. Colombia reduced imports by 179,000 b/d the week ended October 25, and Brazil's imports of crude oil declined 149,000 b/d.

Total U.S. refinery utilization rose 1.4 percentage points to 87.3% of capacity the week ended October 25, outpacing analysts' expectations of a 0.1 percentage-point increase.

On the USAC, run rates surged 6.9 percentage points higher to 73.5% of capacity.

Domestic crude oil production in the lower-48 states fell a marginal 21,000 b/d to 7.34 million b/d the week ended October 25, after rebounding by 428,000 b/d the week prior.

Despite the slight week-over-week decline, crude oil production in the lower 48 was some 1.22 million b/d above year-ago levels.

Crude oil stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma -- delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) crude oil futures contract -- increased for the third straight reporting week, up 2.2 million barrels to 35.5 million barrels, EIA data shows. This build puts Cushing stocks at more than 18% above the five-year average.

Prior to these recent builds, Cushing stocks had fallen for 14 consecutive reporting weeks, falling 13.6 million barrels during that period.

Midwest crude oil stocks were up 1 million barrels to 102.5 million barrels, as imports to that region declined 178,000 b/d to 1.76 million b/d.

Imports of Canadian crude oil, which typically head to the Midwest region, were near flat on the week at 2.45 million b/d, down about 10,000 b/d.


U.S. gasoline stocks fell 1.7 million barrels to 213.8 million barrels, contrary to analysts’ expectations of a 1.5 million-barrel build, on an increase in implied demand* for gasoline.

Implied gasoline demand rose a counter-seasonal 257,000 b/d to 9.05 million b/d, putting it about 181,000 b/d above the five-year average.

Stocks on the USAC -- home to the New York Harbor-delivered NYMEX RBOB contract -- fell 1.1 million barrels to 56.1 barrels. Despite the decline, stocks in that region were still about 9% above the five-year average.

Meanwhile, gasoline imports to the USAC were at 520,000 b/d, up from 429,000 b/d the week prior, but about 167,000 below the five-year average.

Finished gasoline production was up 304,000 b/d to 9.43 million b/d, just as production of distillate fuel rose 118,000 b/d to 4.94 million b/d.

Distillate stocks declined 3.1 million barrels to 122.7 million barrels the week ended October 25 as implied demand for the fuel surged 825,000 b/d to 4.16 million b/d. Distillate stocks were about 21.7 million barrels, or 15%, below the five-year average for the week ended October 25.

Analysts polled by Platts estimated a 1.2 million-barrel draw in distillate stocks.

Stocks of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fell to 99.5 million barrels, down 2.2 million barrels on the week. The bulk of the decline was seen in the USGC, where ULSD stocks fell 1.3 million barrels the week ended October 25.

Implied demand* is the amount of product that moves through the U.S. distribution system, not actual end consumption.

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