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Surprise Crude Draw Suggests Tighter Oil Market

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated the inventory draw this week for crude oil to be 1.645 barrels after analysts predicted a build of 1.833 million barrels.

U.S. crude inventories shed some 76 million barrels since the start of 2021, and about 19 million barrels since the start of 2020.

In the week prior, the API reported a draw in crude oil inventories of 872,000 barrels after analysts had predicted a draw of 400,000 barrels.

Oil prices were trading down on Tuesday in the run-up to the data release, easing off of the gains realized on Monday despite geopolitical concerns and strong demand.  

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WTI was trading down 0.06% at $88.10 on the day at 2:26 p.m. EST but still up roughly $3 per barrel on the week. Brent crude was trading down by 0.20% at $89.08 $88.13 on the day and up roughly $1 per barrel on the week.  

U.S. oil production continues to climb. For the week ending January 21—the last week for which the Energy Information Administration has provided data—crude oil production in the United States slipped 100,000 bpd to 11.6 million bpd. This is down 1.5 million bpd from the pre-pandemic era.

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This week, the API reported yet another build in gasoline inventories at 5.816 million barrels for the week ending January 28—on top of the previous week's 2.4 million barrel build.

Distillate stocks saw a decrease in inventory of 2.508 million barrels for the week, after last week's 2.2 million barrel decrease. Cushing saw a 1.031 million-barrel decrease this week in what could trigger another wave of worry. Cushing inventories stood just above 30 million barrels as of January 21—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 $88.39, with Brent trading at $89.41, as prices began to trend upward on the day.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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