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Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Taking a voyage across the world of energy with ClipperData’s Director of Commodity Research. Follow on Twitter @ClipperData, @mattvsmith01

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Debunking The Massive EIA Crude Build

Yesterday’s weekly EIA inventory report showed a 14.4 million-barrel build to oil inventories, the largest since weekly records began in 1982.

Here at ClipperData, we use U.S. Customs bills to report oil imports in a timely fashion. Imports play a key role in the weekly inventory data, making a major contribution to supply, and unsurprisingly, have a big influence on inventory numbers.

Comparing our numbers to those reported by the EIA shows their import data lagging behind the totals reported for the weeks ending October 14 and October 21, and then playing catch-up in the last week, the one ending October 28.

In the two weeks prior, the EIA reported import numbers into the U.S. Gulf coast that were significantly below the Customs totals. For the week ending October 14, EIA imports into PADD 3 were 550,000 barrels per day below the Customs number, and 116,000 bpd below for the week ending October 21.

For the week ending October 28, there was a massive correction in the data, and the EIA reported imports that were 522,000 bpd higher than Customs data.

(Click to enlarge)

Not only do we believe that the EIA missed import volume in the weeks ending October 14 and October 21, but the massive stock build in the week ending October 28 suggests that there was some pent-up stock building that was not reported for at least one week if not two, and that led to the high October 28 number.

Taking a look at the stock change over a three-week period yields a similar result to that of EIA’s PADD3 imports: they are in line with our numbers. The EIA's total stock change over the last three weeks is an 8.6 million bbl build, in line with our projection of 8.5 million bbls.

This is an unusual time shift in the EIA data. Usually the agency is much more in line with the numbers reported by Customs, and this looks like a one-off occurrence.

(Click to enlarge)

By Matt Smith

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Leave a comment
  • Scott Leach on November 03 2016 said:
    No doubt....even the day to day citizen could observe that the EIA was missing the boat. Voodo reporting is keeping the speculators buying and selling.

    The question remains still are they honestly trying to report or are they working to help manipulate the market?
  • Jack Ma on November 03 2016 said:
    These puppet agency's report paper oil to move prices. Oil must be kept down until the very last attempt to break the backs of the BRICS. It's easy to add or subtract paper oil to either side of the lie. However, when the real oil supply starts to diminish, the paper lie must end. If the world is not back on the dollar by then, it's war time.


    This same agency faked over supply back in the 80's when Russia tried to abandon the dollar. Oil prices collapsed and so did Russia back then. Russia can not be so easily bombed into submission like Iraq and Libya and other ME nations. Also, with the help of a economic metaphor, Russia and China are now married in their march along the Silk Road.

    Times have changed. IMHO
  • AugustaWill on November 03 2016 said:
    The drop in the weeks prior to the 10/28 numbers were light. Of course they were. We had hurricanes Mathew and Nicole off of the east coast. There were a lot of ships that had to wait to get near an east coast port. The southeastern ports were closed. I don't know if that was enough to cause the whole increase, but it had to have something to do with it..right?

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