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Oil Prices Hold Onto Gains Despite Surprise Crude Build 

Crude oil inventories in the United States unexpectedly rose unexpectedly this week by 4.067 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) data showed on Tuesday—just one week after seeing the largest dip in inventories ever of 15.4 million barrels.

Analysts were expecting a draw of 233,000 barrels in U.S. crude-oil inventories. The total number of barrels of crude oil gained so far this year is nearly 24 million barrels, according to API data, although there is a net draw in crude inventories since April of 23 million barrels.

On Monday, the Department of Energy (DoE) reported that crude oil inventories in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) rose by 1 million barrels in the week ending August 4, with the SPR inventory still sitting at a near 40-year low of 347.80 million barrels.

The WTI and Brent benchmarks were both trading down on Tuesday morning, but by late afternoon had made a complete turnaround to trade in the green in the run-up to the data release. By 4:19 p.m. EST, WTI was trading up 1.03%, at $82.78 per barrel—up nearly $1 per barrel from this time last week. Brent crude was trading up 0.81% at $86.03—up $0.70 from this time last week.

Gasoline inventories saw another draw this week, falling by 413,000 barrels after falling 1.68 million barrels in the week prior, with inventories already 6% less than the five-year average. Distillate inventories fell by another 2.093 million barrels, after the 512,000 million barrel draw in the week prior.

Crude oil production in the United States stayed at 12.2 million bpd for the week ending July 28, according to EIA data, flat compared to production levels at the start of the year.

Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by another 112,000 barrels, after falling by 1.76 million barrels in the previous week.


By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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