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Soaring Gasoline, Distillate Inventories Offset Large Crude Draw

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has estimated a large crude oil inventory draw of 5.95 million barrels for the week ending January 3, compared to analyst expectations of a smaller 3.572-million-barrel draw in inventory.

Last week saw a large draw in crude oil inventories of 7.8 million barrels, according to API data. The EIA’s estimates reported an even larger draw of 11.5 million barrels for that week.

Oil prices were down on the day prior to the afternoon data release, but were up week on week after this weekend saw US airstrikes in Iraq that killed an Iranian military general Qassem Soleimani, drawing threats from Iran and causing foreign oil companies to evacuate Iraq.

At 2:00 pm EST, the WTI benchmark was trading down $0.63 (-1.00%) at $62.64—roughly $1.58 per barrel above than last week’s levels. The price of a Brent barrel was also trading down on Tuesday, by $0.78 (-1.13%), at $68.13–$2.13 per barrel more than last week’s prices.  
The API this week also reported a huge build of 6.70 million barrels of gasoline for week ending January 3, threatening to erase any price headway the bulls might have made off of the crude draw for the week. This week’s large gasoline build compares to analyst expectations of a 2.654-million barrel-build for the week.

Distillate inventories saw a build of 6.40 million barrels for the week, while Cushing inventories fell by 1.0 million barrels.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending December 27 stayed at 12.9 million bpd for the second week in a row—a high for US oil producers on the last week of the year and a 1.2 million bpd increase from the start of 2019.

At 4:37 pm EDT, WTI was trading at $62.70, while Brent was trading at $68.26.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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