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Large Gasoline, Distillates Build Suppresses Oil Prices

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a crude oil inventory draw of 4.5 million barrels for the week ending December 28, compared to analyst expectations that we would see a draw in crude oil inventories of 2.333 million barrels.

Last week, the API reported a surprise crude build of more than 6 million barrels. A day later, the EIA showed that inventories had remained virtually unchanged from the previous week.

Leading up to today’s data release from the API, which is on a two-day delay due to the New Year holiday, crude oil prices ticked marginally upward, with WTI and Brent trading flat week on week.

At 12:03pm EST on Thursday, WTI was trading up on the day $0.20 (+0.43%) per barrel at $46.74. Brent crude was trading up $0.46 (+0.84%) at $55.37. The slight upward movement for oil prices on Thursday was largely due to Wednesday reports that Saudi Arabia’s oil exports for December had dropped off significantly.

Inventories in the Cushing, Oklahoma facility this week climbed by 483,000 barrels.

The API reported a large build in gasoline inventories for week ending December 28 in the amount of 8.0 million barrels. Analysts had predicted a much smaller build of 2.267 million barrels for the week.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending December 21 climbed to 11.7 million bpd for the week.

Distillate inventories increased this week by 4.0 million barrels, compared to an expected build of 2.567 million barrels.


The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on crude oil inventories is due to be released on Friday at 11:00a.m. EST due to the New Year holiday.

By 5:08pm EST, WTI was trading up at $46.87 and Brent was trading up at $55.65.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • JACK MA on January 03 2019 said:
    Your breaking news headline is so misleading. A draw this size should have been the headline. The API is guess work anyway but a publication leaning towards short oil should make a note of that as a disclaimer. Maybe a Goldman Spin. IMHO
  • EHLipton on January 03 2019 said:
    Again,,, 2 things in my mind accounting for unstable Price's.
    1, when a average new storage tank battery constructed in a tank farm goes online ready to fill, it can hold 188'000 barrels of crude,, we in the permian basin here in Midland are building several,, some completed last month and as recently as a week ago, this accounts for a draw according to processed info running through the L.A.C. unit's confusing draw. Then there are the vast numbers of completed pipe line projects running throughout the country,, these too need to be filled before any % of consumed usage can be accurate assessed.
    2, the retailer's have no legitimate cause to price a gal of fuel at crude pricing,, consumers for the last 2+ decades, have suffered while in the beginning they suffered for the cause of 9/11. This has not gone over well them after the hunt for bin laden was over and were still seeing relatively the same price,, now oil is cheaper,, but alot of retailers are reaping great summ's holding the consumer hostage to there "un reasonable", profits.
    Many folks I know who work in oil related fields,, make a very high wage and when asked about fuel prices,,there response isaways, it's good for us, I will pay it at 3-4 or 5 bucks a gal! But alot more don't make that kind of money, average non oil related pay here is $12-13 hr. Thats the young 20 to 40 yr olds with children, they don't account for thee elderly or the disabled non working fixed incomers,, . I know people including myself that cannot afford to fill up there tanks, I know personally two individuals "elderly" that have not filled there garage kept vehicle since we went to Afghanistan. They only buy enough to do errands, and Incase of an emergency keep the 1/4 tank method consistent.
    If you want a stable moving product,, price it fairly and see that your retailer isn't giving you,, the producer, a bad name.

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