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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise crude oil inventory build of 6.9 million barrels for the week ending December 21, compared to analyst expectations that we would see a draw in crude oil inventories of 2.869 million barrels. The surprise build will likely push oil prices further down, continuing the seesaw prices of the Christmas week.
Leading up to today’s data release from the API, which is on a two-day delay due to the Christmas holiday, crude oil prices saw a big dip, with WTI and Brent completely erasing big gains from Wednesday.
At 4:13pm EST on Wednesday, WTI was trading up on the day $4.42 (+10.39%) per barrel at $46.95. And while that significant of a gain is rare indeed, it’s still down from last week’s near-$48 per barrel. Brent crude was trading up $4.76 (+9.38%) at $55.53, still down from this time last week when it was a hair below $58 per barrel.
But Thursday’s prices came and blew yesterday’s gains away, with WTI trading down 3.27% at 11:23am EST at $44.71, and Brent trading down 2.68% at $53.29.
Inventories in the Cushing, Oklahoma facility this week climbed by 1.8 million barrels.
The API reported a build in gasoline inventories as well for week ending December 21 in the amount of 3.7 million barrels. Analysts had predicted a negligible build of 28,000 barrels for the week.
US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending December 14 stood at 11.6 million bpd for the second week in a row.
Distillate inventories fell this week by 598,000 barrels, compared to an expected draw of 529,000 barrels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on crude oil inventories is due to be released on Friday at 11:00a.m. EST due to the Christmas holiday.
By 4:38pm EST, WTI was trading down at $45.63 and Brent was trading down at $53.81.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.