Crude oil prices reversed their decline today after the Energy Information Administration reported an oil inventory draw of 1.6 million barrels for the week to September 18. This compares with a draw of 4.4 million barrels for the previous week.
The report came a day after the American Petroleum Institute propped prices up temporarily by estimating a sizeable decline in gasoline stocks, coupled with a modest build in crude oil stocks. Analysts, on the other hand, had expected the EIA this week to report an inventory draw of 2.325 million barrels.
In gasoline, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 4 million barrels for the week to September 18, compared with a decline of 400,000 barrels for the previous week. This also helped prices up.
Gasoline production averaged 9.3 million bpd last week, up on a week earlier, when gasoline output averaged just 8.8 million bpd.
In distillate fuels, which are giving refiners a headache as demand for them remains a lot more subdued than demand for gasoline, the EIA reported a draw in stocks of 3.4 million barrels. This compares to a build of 3.5 million barrels estimated for the previous week amid still severely limited air travel.
Distillate fuel production last week averaged 4.5 million bpd, compared with 4.4 million bpd a week earlier.
Oil prices were still down at the time of writing, with Brent crude trading at $41.69 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate trading at $39.70 a barrel. The decline is hardly a surprise: it came amid deepening worry about the future state of oil demand as economic reports from different parts of the world suggested that any recovery would be slow. It also came soon after the news broke that Libya was reopening some of its oil export terminals and boosting production.
OilX reported that plans were to raise production to 260,000 bpd, from currently below 100,000 bpd. In a precarious price environment, this production boost was bound to pressure prices despite OPEC+’s stated success with production cuts.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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