Oil prices got some support from bullish EIA data today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw of 1.9 million barrels for the week to March 4.
At 411.6 million barrels, the EIA said, crude oil inventories are 13 percent below the five-year average for this time of the year.
A week earlier, the EIA had estimated an inventory draw of 2.6 million barrels, which helped strengthen the oil price rally accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In fuels, the EIA reported draws across the board.
Gasoline inventories shed 1.4 million barrels in the week to March 4, with production averaging 9.6 million barrels daily. This compared with an inventory decline of half a million barrels for the previous week and production of 9.3 million bpd.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 5.2 million barrels for the week to March 4, with production averaging 4.6 million barrels daily. This compared with a draw of 600,000 barrels for the previous week and production averaging 4.7 million bpd.
Meanwhile, the national average price for gasoline topped $4 per gallon for the first time since 2008, with prices at the pump in California topping $5 per gallon. The latest spike in prices came after President Biden said he would ban all Russian oil and oil product imports. Congress is due to vote on the ban today.
To cushion the blow from this move to Americans, the White House has agreed a coordinated release of 60 million barrels of crude with the International Energy Agency and is seeking alternative sources of crude, including Venezuela, to which it has reportedly promised sanction relief in exchange for a commitment to supply oil to U.S. refineries. However, Venezuelan output may not be enough, according to a WSJ report.
At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $121.50 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at $117.60 per barrel.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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