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Oil Prices Inch Closer To $90 On Surprise Crude Draw

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated the inventory draw this week for crude oil to be 2.025 million barrels after analysts predicted a build of 675,000 barrels.

U.S. crude inventories shed some 78 million barrels since the start of 2021, and about 21 million barrels since the start of 2020.

In the week prior, the API reported a draw in crude oil inventories of 1.645 million barrels after analysts had predicted a build of 1.833 million barrels.

Oil prices were trading down on Tuesday in the run-up to the data release on renewed fears that Iran and the United States could be close to a nuclear deal that could unleash more legal barrels of oil from the currently sanctioned nation.

WTI was trading down 2.15% at $89.36 on the day at 12:32 p.m. EST but still up roughly $1 per barrel on the week. Brent crude was trading down by 2.18% at $90.67 on the day.  

U.S. oil production has reversed its upward trend in the last few weeks. For the week ending January 28—the last week for which the Energy Information Administration has provided data—crude oil production in the United States slipped another 100,000 bpd to 11.5 million bpd. This is down 1.6 million bpd from the pre-pandemic era.

This week, the API reported a draw in gasoline inventories at 1.138 million barrels for the week ending February 4—compared to the previous week's 5.816 million barrel build.

Distillate stocks saw a decrease in inventory of 2.203 million barrels for the week, after last week's 2.508 million barrel decrease. Cushing saw a 2.502 million-barrel decrease this week in what could trigger another wave of worry. Cushing inventories stood just above 30 million barrels as of January 28—down from 60 million barrels at the start of 2021, and down from 37 million barrels at the end of 2021.

At 4:36 pm, EST, WTI was trading at $89.53, with Brent trading at $91.00.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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