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Oil Prices Spike As EIA Confirms Inventory Draw

The Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory decline of 3.9 million barrels for the week to March 8, versus a build of 7.1 million barrels a week earlier, with the total slightly above average for this time of the year at 449.1 million barrels.

The authority said refineries processed crude at an average daily rate of 16 million barrels, unchanged from a week earlier. Gasoline production averaged 9.7 million bpd last week, from 9.9 million bpd a week earlier and distillate fuel production was virtually unchanged from 4.9 million bpd in the previous week.

Gasoline inventories, the EIA reported, fell by 4.6 million barrels in the seven days to March 8, which compared with a decline of 4.2 million barrels in the previous week. Distillate fuel inventories gained a modest 400,000 barrels, after falling by 2.4 million barrels in the last week of February.

Crude oil prices have been trending higher today on the back of falling Venezuelan and Iranian production, squeezed by U.S. sanctions, and also thanks to an update from Saudi Arabia that it plans to continue cutting its production deeper than it agreed on last December to support prices.

The update came in spite of a remark by India’s oil minister during a meeting with his Saudi counterpart that prices were already climbing higher than India, one of the world’s largest importer, was comfortable with. Related: Is A Crisis Looming For Canadian Oil?

However, the continued growth in U.S. crude oil production has served as a headwind capping oil’s gains on the bullish news. The EIA, in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, said it expected this at a record-high although it revised downwards the actual figure for 2019 by 110,000 bpd to 12.3 million bpd. Next year, the EIA expects U.S. crude oil production to hit 13 million bpd.

Concern about global economic growth also continued to weigh on prices as it would dampen demand in some of the biggest importers of the commodity.

At the time of writing, Brent crude traded at US$67.29 a barrel, with WTI at US$57.85 a barrel.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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