Crude oil prices stabilized on Wednesday morning after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory draw of 0.2 million barrels for the week to December 3.
The report comes a day after the American Petroleum Institute surprised markets with an estimated crude oil inventory draw of over 3 million barrels that helped push prices higher.
In EIA estimates, last week’s draw compares with a modest decline of 900,000 barrels for the first week of December.
At 432.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain below the five-year seasonal average.
The EIA also reported an estimated 3.9-million-barrel increase in gasoline stocks, with production last week averaging 9.6 million bpd.
This compares with a gasoline inventory build of 4 million barrels for the previous week and production averaging 9.6 million bpd.
In middle distillates, the EIA reported an inventory increase of 2.7 million barrels for the week to December 3. This compared with a build of 2.2 million barrels for the previous week.
Middle distillate production last week averaged 4.9 million bpd, which compared with 4.9 million bpd a week earlier.
In total, refineries last week processed 15.8 million bpd of crude oil. Imports stood at 6.5 million bpd.
Oil prices have been on the mend since the start of the week as the initial fear that the new Omicron variant could prompt new lockdowns began to subside amid reports of mild symptoms that don’t require hospitalization.
They are still far below their October highs but have rebounded from sub-$70 lows recorded towards the end of November. The outlook remains uncertain as researchers caution it is early days for Omicron and more data will become available as time passes.
Meanwhile however, OPEC has stuck an upbeat chord, with Saudi Arabia raising oil prices for Asian and U.S. buyers, and Iraq’s oil minister forecasting oil at $75 a barrel—something which, at the time of writing, was a fact with Brent trading at $75.34 a barrel.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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