Crude oil prices inched higher today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an estimated inventory decline of 2.5 million barrels for the week to January 12.
This compared with a moderate inventory build of 1.3 million barrels for the previous week, which also saw another round of massive increases in fuel inventories that drove prices lower at the time.
For last week, the EIA also reported more inventory builds in gasoline and middle distillate stocks.
In gasoline, the authority estimated an inventory increase of 3.1 million barrels for the week to January 12. This compared with a build of 8 million barrels for the previous week.
Gasoline production averaged 9.4 million barrels daily last week, compared with 9.7 million bpd for the prior week.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory build of 2.4 million barrels for the week to January 12. This compared with a build of 6.5 million barrels for the previous week.
Middle distillate production averaged 4.9 million barrels daily last week, which compared with 5.2 million barrels daily for the week before.
Oil prices meanwhile inched higher earlier in the week, after OPEC released its first monthly report for the year. In it, the cartel forecast robust demand growth for the year, at 2.25 million bpd, which is the same level of demand growth it had forecast earlier, too. OPEC also predicted strong demand growth for 2025, at 1.85 million barrels daily.
Prices also received some support from the supply situation in the U.S., which has been affected by a cold snap that has cost North Dakota 650,000 bpd to 700,000 bpd in temporarily halted production.
A fresh round of attacks by U.S. and UK forces against Yemeni military targets on Wednesday also lent some support for prices, albeit a modest one.
The International Energy Agency meanwhile has largely dismissed the risk of supply disruption in the Middle East citing robust supply elsewhere and expectations of weaker demand.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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