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Crude oil inventories dropped for the fourth week in a row this week, by 6.426 million barrels, American Petroleum Institute (API) data showed on Tuesday, after dropping 7.85 million barrels in the week prior. Analysts anticipated a 3.884 million barrel draw.
U.S. crude inventories have grown by just 6 million barrels so far this year, according to API data. Meanwhile, crude stored in the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves sunk by nearly 32 times that figure so far this year— by 206 million barrels.
The SPR now contains the least amount of crude oil since February 1984.
The draw in commercial crude oil inventories came as the Department of Energy released 2.1 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in the week ending December 2, leaving the SPR with just 387 million barrels.
In the week prior, the API reported a large draw in crude oil inventories of 7.85 million barrels.
WTI prices fell sharply on Tuesday as the market reacted to the weak G7 price cap on Russian crude and the status quo from the OPEC+ meeting earlier in the week that ended without a production cut as some had feared.
At 3:51 p.m. EST, WTI was trading down $2.50 (-3.25%) on the day at $74.43 per barrel. This is a decrease of roughly $4.50 per barrel from the prior week. Brent crude was trading down $3.04 (-3.69%) on the day at $79.64—a decrease of roughly $5.50 per barrel on the week.
U.S. crude oil production again stayed at 12.1 million bpd for the fourth week in a row for week ending November 25, 400,000 bpd more than the levels seen at the start of the year, and still a 1 million bpd shortfall from the levels seen at the start of the pandemic.
The API reported a build in gasoline inventories this week of 5.93 million barrels for the week ending December 2, on top of the previous week’s 2.85-million-barrel build.
Distillate stocks also saw a build this week, of 3.55 million barrels, on top of last week’s 4.01-million-barrel increase.
Cushing inventories rose by 30,000 barrels in the week to December 2, compared to last week’s reported decrease of 150,000 barrels.
WTI was trading at $74.32 shortly after the data release.
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.