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Oil Prices Fall As API Reports A Surprise Crude Build

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has estimated a huge surprise crude oil inventory build of 4.7 million barrels for the week ending December 11, compared to analyst expectations of a 1.288-million-barrel draw in inventory.

Last week saw a build in crude oil inventories of 1.41 million barrels, according to API data. The EIA’s estimates reported a smaller build of 800,000 barrels for that week.

After today’s reported inventory move, the net inventory moves so far this year—almost the end of the year--stand at a build of 3.22 million barrels for the last 51-weeks, using API data.

Oil prices had been up on the day prior to the data release, on positive US China trade developments, with a Phase 1 deal reached, and the threat of tariffs averted.   

WTI was trading up over 1% on Tuesday. At 2:06 pm EST, WTI was trading up $0.67 (1.11%) at $60.88—more than $1.50 per barrel above than last week’s levels. The price of a Brent barrel was also trading up, by $0.74 (+1.13%) at that time, at $66.08 –almost $2 per barrel over last week’s prices.  

The API this week also reported a huge build of 5.6 million barrels of gasoline for week ending December 11, compared to analyst expectations of a smaller build in gasoline inventories of 2.178-million barrels for the week.

Related: The Best And Worst Oil Predictions Of 2019

Distillate inventories saw a large build of 3.7 million barrels for the week, while Cushing inventories fell by 300,000 barrels.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending December 6 slipped to 12.8 million bpd off the all-time high of 12.9 million bpd in the week prior.

At 4:45pm EDT, WTI was trading at $60.46, while Brent was trading at $65.74

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 18 2019 said:
    On cue, the moment oil prices start to surge, the API or the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) or both together announce hikes in crude and refined products inventories.

    It is high time for the global oil market to recognize that these inventory rises are fake and are intended to depress oil prices. They are part and parcel of the United States' manipulation of oil prices.

    Sooner or later, oil prices will resume their upward surge.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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