Crude oil prices rose slightly after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory build of 1.4 million barrels for the week to November 15.
At 450.4 million barrels, the EIA said, inventories were some 3 percent above seasonal limits.
With last week’s build, the total increase in U.S. crude oil inventories over the past two months comes in at more than 32 million barrels.
Besides rising crude stocks, the EIA also reported a 1.8-million-barrel rise in gasoline stockpiles for the week to November 15, and a 1-million-barrel decline in distillate fuel inventories.
This compares with a 1.9-million-barrel build in gasoline inventories for the week before, and a decline of 2.5 million barrels in distillate fuel inventories.
Refineries last week produced 10.1 million bpd of gasoline, down from 10.2 million bpd a week earlier. Distillate fuel production averaged 5.1 million bpd, compared with 5 million bpd a week earlier. The average crude oil processing rate last week was 16.4 million bpd, compared with 15.9 million bpd a week earlier.
The EIA report followed the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly inventory estimate that said these had added 5.95 million barrels last week. This added pressure on prices already struggling under the double weight of concern about the global economy and diminishing hopes of a U.S.-Chinese trade deal.
It’s worth noting that protests in Iraq and Iran have so far failed to exert any upward pressure on oil prices despite the fact that Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest explorer and escalating protests would eventually threaten production.
Iran’s problems with protesters are less likely to influence prices because of U.S. sanctions that have shrunk the country’s oil exports, but the always present risk of escalation and spillage across borders is a potential tailwind for prices.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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