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Tom Kool

Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com's Head of Operations

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Oil Prices Steady After Slim Inventory Build

The EIA this morning reported a build of 614,000 barrels in U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, a day after the American Petroleum Institute interrupted the oil rally by reporting a bearish 4.2 million-barrel build to U.S. crude oil inventories.

Oil prices inched lower after yesterday’s API report as thin trading continues. But the overall crude market seems to be in good shape as traders anticipate OPEC’s cuts.

Reuters quoted PVM Oil Associates’ Tamas Varga as saying, "The market is in good shape although it might fail to make significant advances this year". Varga sees the uptrend continue in January as the ‘’odds are still on higher numbers’’.

EIA’s official figures peg inventories at 486.1 million barrels, from 485.4 million barrels last week, when they rose by 2.3 million barrels.

The EIA continued to report that refineries in the U.S. processed an average daily of 16.6 million barrels of crude, operating at 91.0 percent of capacity and producing 10.5 million barrels of gasoline and 5.0 million barrels of distillate.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels in the seven days ending December 23, and are still in the upper half of the average range, while distillate inventories were down by 1.9 million barrels on the week. Gasoline inventories continue to fall as demand remains resilient. Related: Can U.S. Shale Add 1 Million Bpd In 2017?

Oil imports stood at 8.2 million bpd, down by 304,000 bpd and about 100,000 bpd higher than the 4 week average.

Yesterday’s API reported Cushing inventory build was toned down somewhat by the EIA, which sees inventories growing by 172,000 bpd while analysts expected a build of 500,000 bpd.

At the time of writing, WTI was trading steady at US$54.14 a barrel, and Brent crude was up 0,5 percent at US$56.50 a barrel.

By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com

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  • Craig Ferrell on December 29 2016 said:
    I'd like to note the huge disparity between the API numbers (guesstimates) and the EIA numbers (actuals), which is sadly all too commonplace. People who trade on API numbers would do well to just wait till the EIA comes out the following morning (but that's just my opinion).

    I'd also like to note that while there was a small build in crude stocks, there was a draw across the board in all refined products (this shows healthy demand). In addition to the mentioned gasoline, jet fuel was down 1.9MM bbls, and there was a big draw in propane (5.7MM), as winter turns cold. Even "Other Oils" saw a decrease of 3.4MM, which led to "Total stocks" declining 12.9MM (again, healthy demand, which is supportive of prices).

    Further down the data sheet under "Domestic Production", I'd like to point out that "Lower 48" production declined 30K bbls last week to 8.24MM. Looks like the 200 added rigs since June are having a bit of difficulty producing enough to offset the decline rates of both the existing frac wells, as well as the existing vertical/directional wells?
  • Seb on December 29 2016 said:
    I agree. Kinda interesting as earlier today I read an article stating there was a large build in inventory stocks, I guess they were going off the API report. Makes for mixed reading.... I wonder if we are trying to play games here?

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