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Oil Prices Drop On Unexpected Crude Inventory Build

Crude oil prices fell slightly today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated oil inventories had added 1.3 million barrels during the week to April 29.

At 415.7 barrels, the EIA said, inventories were 15 percent below the five-year average for this time of the year.

Last week’s build compared with a modest build of 700,000 bpd reported for the previous week.

In fuels, the EIA estimated inventory declines across the board.

Gasoline inventories fell by 2.2 million barrels last week, according to the authority. This compared with a decline of 1.6 million barrels a week earlier.

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Gasoline production averaged 9.7 million bpd last week, which compared with 9.5 million bpd during the previous week.

In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 2.3 million barrels for last week of April, which compared with a decline of 1.4 million barrels for the previous week.

Middle distillate production averaged 4.7 million barrels daily, which was down from 4.8 million bpd a week ago.

Refinery runs averaged 15.5 million barrels daily last week, compared with 15.7 million bpd a week earlier.

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A day before the EIA released its weekly inventory estimate, the American Petroleum Institute reported a decline of 3.5 million barrels in crude oil inventories, which pushed prices higher despite persistent demand concerns on the part of traders because of China’s lockdowns.

The longer-term outlook for prices also remains bullish as the EU prepares for a Russian oil embargo, which could see up to 2 million bpd in Russian output lost by the end of this month.

"The API report had people stop worrying about the demand side and start worrying about the supply side again," one Price Futures Group analyst told Reuters.

Indeed supply remains a cause for concern on a global scale with OPEC substantially undershooting its production target for April, reporting an increase of just 40,000 bpd instead of more than 250,000 bpd as agreed with its OPEC+ partners.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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