The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reporting a 3.4-million barrel drop in U.S. crude oil inventory in official data released this morning.
The drop completely contradicts data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) yesterday, which showed a 3.45-million-barrel oil inventory build—the highest in five weeks and a shock to the market after traders had gone on a late Tuesday buying spree on sentiments that inventory would remain unchanged.
According to the EIA, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 540.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain at historically high levels for this time of year.
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U.S. crude oil refinery runs averaged 16.2 million barrels per day during the week ending May 6, 2016, 193,000 barrels per day more than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.1 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 10.1 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 7.7 million barrels per day last week, down by 5,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 7.8 million barrels per day, 8.4 percent above the same four-week period last year.
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On Tuesday, Brent crude oil prices were up 4 percent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 2 percent on this bullish tidbit from the EIA.
According to Zerohedge, there has been unconfirmed speculation that erroneous API data had been leaked in advance late yesterday.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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