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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

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.

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Oil Prices Plunge After Crude Inventories Rise To New Highs


A day after the American Petroleum Institute estimated commercial U.S. crude oil inventories hade declined by 1.83 million barrels last week and amid an unplanned production outage at the Buzzard field in the North Sea, the Energy Information Administration hit markets with a 1.6-million-barrel increase in commercial inventories as of the end of last week.

This is compared with a 900,000-barrel build in inventories for the week to March 24, which made traders perk up because the figure was substantially lower than API estimates for the period, which pegged the build at 1.9 million barrels.

The report comes amid growing investor optimism about the OPEC production cut deal, as tanker tracking data reported by Reuters has revealed that global seaborne crude oil supply is falling.

While this is significant in light of the fact that most OPEC oil from the Middle East is shipped in tankers around the world, it is by no means the only global supply, and production elsewhere can still be rising at steady rates, undermining the OPEC deal and keeping a lid on prices.

EIA’s report also said that refineries processed an average daily of 16.4 million barrels of crude, slightly up from 16.2 million bpd in the previous week, producing 9.5 million barrels per day of gasoline and 5 million barrels per day of distillate. Gasoline inventories fell by 600,000 barrels last week.

Oil prices reached a one-month high earlier this week on the back of the Buzzard outage and the API figures, but EIA’s report might reverse the trend, especially combined with another headwind for prices: Libya’s restored oil production, after a temporary suspension at its biggest field, Sharara, that took 250,000 bpd off daily output last weekend.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $54.66 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate was changing hands at $51.44 a barrel, with prices starting to slide shortly after the data release.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Ed Schaffer on April 05 2017 said:
    This captcha is too small to see properly , enlarge it!
  • Ed Schaffer on April 05 2017 said:
    Well done Irina , bravo, your report beat the market price top by a full half hour > very well done. I am now a big fan of yours. Please do keep up your good work & I look forward to it!
  • Timmie Tee on April 05 2017 said:
    Plunge? I see oil still up for the session. Maybe it's off it's intraday high, but it didn't plunge. I would say this is positive given the negative EIA inventory report.
  • Darrin on April 05 2017 said:
    Talk about stock manipulation
  • Ed Schaffer on April 05 2017 said:
    Timmie Tee > this comment is for you pal. You appear to be bullish on WTI CL right? You do not think that a full one dollar drop in price in just over one hour is a "plunge"? Take another good look at the chart to see the drop between 10:11am EST and 11:22 am EST. That is a drop of 1.97% or almost a full 2% in price in just over one hour. On my 15 minute chart, the angle of descent clocks in at negative 84 degrees. That is what I too would also call a "plunge"!
    Remember the old saying > price climbs the stairs upward but drops down the elevator shaft in a fall or drop. It took from about noon yesterday until almost noon today for price to climb to that high, so that is about 24 hours, then only about one hour to retrace that climb! That is what I would indeed call a plunge. Well I personally do agree with Irena's assessment and even I who am like you, bullish on WTI CL for the long term, would say that was a bad body blow to prices and I do call it a plunge as well. Subsequent price action has indeed seen a recovery to a high of just $51.30 so far and then a fadeback or retracement to currently stand as of right now at $51.07 or flat on the day so far. I think it will take some time for price to consolidate at these levels before it resumes the charge upward again. However I agree with Phil Flynn who is bullish long term as well. Right now it shows price has just gone negative about a dime on the day so far. It will test the old low at $50.84 to see how it holds up before resuming the upward climb.
    Hope this helps, bye.
  • Timmie Tee on April 11 2017 said:
    Ed, I just call it volatility, it bounced back within the day, but it all depends on your timeframe. To me, a "plunge" is +10%, but I have a longer timeframe. Yes, I've been long since Dec '15, been a nice ride so far. Holding long until $60-65 as I think the intrinsic cost of oil is about $60/bbl retail, and demand will keep rising to about 100mbd in 2020. I think 2018 may be flat, but big gains possible in '19-20 as long term capex shortfalls affect global E&P... Holdings are DVN, XOM, DIG, and XOP, among others.

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