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Surprise Crude Build Threatens Oil Rally

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Oil Halts Slide On Crude Draw

The Energy Information Administration reported a modest oil inventory draw of 3.1 million barrels for the week to July 12, confirming and even exceeding the American Petroleum Institute’s Tuesday estimate of a small 1.401-million-barrel draw.

Today’s figure follows an estimated a 9.5-million-barrel draw in oil inventories for the previous reporting period.

In gasoline, the EIA reported a build of 3.6 million barrels for last week, which compares with a draw of 1.5 million barrels a week earlier. Gasoline production averaged 9.9 million bpd, which compares with 10.4 million bpd a week earlier.

In distillate fuels, the authority reported an increase in inventories of 5.7 million barrels, versus a build of 3.7 million barrels for the previous week. Production last week averaged 5.4 million bpd for the second week in a row.

Oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iran was ready to come to the negotiating table over the nuclear deal, sparking fears that the tensions in the Middle East that threatened to tighten oil supply may soon relent.

But prices rebounded as Iran denied the US claim that it was prepared to do so. The API’s small crude oil draw yesterday did little to arrest the oil price slide.

Leading up to the EIA report on inventory on Wednesday morning, WTI was trading up $0.37 on the day at $57.99, with Brent trading up $0.69 per barrel at $65.04 at 10:11am EST.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at US$64.95 a barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at US$57.92 a barrel.

Tensions in the Middle East near the world’s most important oil chokepoint will likely rage on as the mystery continues surrounding a small tanker that stopped transmitting its location near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claims it had towed the ship to render aid, while the US had made claims that Iran had hijacked the vessel—just the latest of several incidents in the Middle East.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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