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Oil Prices Extremely Volatile After Massive Crude Build

Oil tanker at open sea

The Energy Information Administration tipped markets towards bear territory when it reported that U.S. crude oil inventories had jumped by 4.9 million barrels in the week to October 7. The total of 474 million barrels remains higher than the average for this time of year.

Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute was the first to spread oil doom and gloom by estimating that crude inventories had gone up by 2.7 million barrels in the same week. This immediately weighed on international oil prices, as it came amid a temporary pause to the news flow about OPEC and Russia’s freeze plans. It also suggested that inventories may be building for the first time in the last six weeks.

Analysts polled by media had expected an increase of 2 million barrels in crude oil stockpiles, along with a 900,000-barrel decline in gasoline inventories. Last week, the EIA reported a 3-million-barrel draw after API estimated a draw of 7.6 million barrels the day prior.

According to the EIA, gasoline inventories last week fell by 1.9 million barrels, with refineries producing an average 9.9 million barrels a day. The rate of crude oil processing stood at 15.6 million barrels, down 480,000 bpd from the previous week, with the facilities operating at 85.5 percent of available capacity.

The EIA’s latest report will push downward already volatile international prices, especially after the excitement started to wane about Russia joining the OPEC freeze after temporarily pushing Brent above US$53 a barrel.

Markets are more than likely to remain excessively volatile until the end of November, when OPEC will meet to make a final decision on the output cap.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading down 1.29% at US$51.14 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate traded down 1.3% at US$49.53 a barrel.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Kr55 on October 13 2016 said:
    Or to put it another way. What should have been an expected crude build in the middle of maintenance season with refinery operations interrupted, and excellent product draws, lower-48 production falling again and Cushing stocks at lowest level in 2016 sees oil stay over $50. :)
  • doogie on October 13 2016 said:
    But crude prices are up!
    Other than that your post is well thought out.
  • Chuckie on October 13 2016 said:
    The 5-year average inventory build for this week is 3.7M, so I don't know if I would call it a "Huge" build relatively speaking as mentioned in the headline. Plus, total inventories including finished stocks actually fell by 5M barrels due to high demand for gas and distillates. The crude build is directly attributed to refinery maintenance which is temporary. So I don't see how this report is bearish.
  • GregSS on October 13 2016 said:
    A swing of 2.7 million barrels is now called massive? So what would we call past moves of 5 or even 10 million barrels?
  • Rondo on October 13 2016 said:
    Anyone understand why Crude Stocks (exc SPR) for 9/30/16 show 499.7 mmbo on the Oct 5 report and 469.1 mmbo on the Oct 13 report resulting in a 4.7 mmbo build to 474.0 mmbo for 10/7/16? IF the change was from 499.7 to 474.0, that's more interesting.


  • JHam on October 14 2016 said:
    Hey Rondo,
    The numbers are now presented without lease stocks, approx 30-33 mill barrels but stays pretty steady so EIA now doesn't include it. Hope this helps.


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