Crude oil prices fell slightly today after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw of 1 million barrels for the last week of January. Fuel inventories were mixed.
A day earlier, the American Petroleum Institute estimated crude oil inventories had fallen by 4.26 million barrels in the reporting period.
The EIA estimate compared with a build of 4.4 million barrels reported for the third week of January and analyst expectations for a modest build of 367,000 barrels.
In gasoline, the EIA reported a build of 4.5 million barrels for the seven-day period, with production averaging 8.4 million bpd. This compared with a decline of 300,000 bpd a week earlier and production averaging 8.9 million bpd.
In middle distillates, the EIA reported inventories remained virtually unchanged on the week, with production averaging 4.6 million bpd. Distillate inventories are about 8 percent above the five-year average. This compared with an inventory build of half a million barrels for the previous week and production averaging 4.5 million bpd.
Oil prices have been on a steady rise recently, with West Texas Intermediate topping $55 per barrel for the first time in about a year and Bent climbing close to $60 a barrel. The immediate reason for the rally was a high compliance rate with production cuts in OPEC+, a wide stock market rally, and a weaker dollar, which made commodities cheaper for international buyers.
Shell, for one, made headlines this week by buying the most Brent cargoes on Monday in a decade, according to Bloomberg. The company also bid for another seven cargoes in the latest sign of improving oil demand.
The outlook is also bullish, with the futures price trend suggesting tighter oil supply on global markets. Forecasts are also getting increasingly optimistic, with Goldman Sachs analysts recently saying they expected oil demand to rebound to 100 million bpd as soon as this year.
At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $58.49 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate was changing hands at $55.93, both up from opening, but below session highs.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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