Crude oil prices inched down today after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory build of 3.6 million barrels for the week to February 8. This compares with a build of 1.3 million barrels for the previous week.
The EIA’s report came a day after the American Petroleum Institute served one of its now regular surprises by reporting a decline in crude oil inventories of 998,000 bpd for the same period.
The EIA also reported a 400,000-barrel increase in gasoline inventories, compared with a build of half a million barrels a week earlier, and a 1.2-million-barrel rise in distillate fuel inventories, versus a draw of 2.3 million barrels in the previous week.
Crude oil pries have been rising this week, especially today, after yesterday Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the Kingdom continues to cut deeper than the OPEC+ latest agreement stipulated, with daily output seen to fall to 9.8 million bpd by March and exports to decline to 6.9 million bpd. That’s down from a production level of 11 million bpd in November and exports of 8.2 million bpd. OPEC’s total for January fell by 800,000 bpd, Reuters reported earlier today, to 30.81 million bpd.
At the same time, events in Venezuela continue top support prices, with everyone expecting its oil production to decline further amid a government crisis that has to date seen two presidents vie for the seat of power and two governments.
Back to the U.S., the EIA said earlier this week it expected local crude oil production to hit 12.4 million bpd this year, rising further to 13.2 million bpd by 2020. Price-wise, this may not be the best of news for oil bulls as refiners are already churning out excessive amounts of gasoline while demand slackens off.
Speaking of refiners, last week these processed an average 15.8 million barrels of crude daily, producing 9.6 million bpd of gasoline, compared with 9.9 million bpd a week earlier, and 4.8 million bpd of distillate fuel, compared with 5.1 million bpd in the previous week.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. More