US crude oil stockpiles decline for the seventh week in a row
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a 4.4 million barrel drawdown in commericial crude oil stockpiles for the week ending May 19, 2017:
- Stockpiles on the East Coast held steady at 16.8 million barrels.
- Inventories in the Midwest declined 1.8 million barrels, including a 700,000 barrel drawdown at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub.
- Inventories in the Gulf Coast declined 2.1 million barrels.
- Stockpiles in the Rocky Mountains region decreased 500,000 barrels.
- West Coast inventories were unchanged for the week.
This is the seventh consecutive weekly decline in crude stockpiles, which had been building steadily through the first quarter of the year. The American Petroleum Institute (API) had predicted a drawdown of about 1.5 million barrels.
The EIA also reported another 400,000 barrel decline in Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR). The US Department of Energy (DOE) has sold 7.4 million barrels of SPR so far this year to help fund various government spending programs, including upgrades to SPR infrastructure. Earlier this week, the Trump Administration floated the idea of selling 270 million barrels of SPR to help narrow the country's deficit.
The US imported 8.3 million bbl/day of crude last week, down almost 300,000 bbl/day from the previous week. Crude exports declined sharply last week to just 625,000 bbl/day.
Gasoline inventories also continue to fall:
- Production increased from 10.0 to 10.2 million bbl/day.
- Imports of gasoline products rose from 696,000 to 725,000 bbl/day.
- Gasoline inventories declined by another 800,000 barrels.
Distillate fuel inventories also fell last week:
- Production increased from 5.0 to 5.2 million bbl/day.
- Imports of distillate products declined from 161,000 to 101,000 bbl/day.
- Inventory volumes fell another 500,000 barrels last week.
Refinery inputs rose from 17.1 to 17.3 million bbl/day. Refinery utilization held steady at about 93.5%. Big gains in the Midwest (now at 96.4% utilization) offset small declines elsewhere in the country.
The US exported 4.64 million bbl/day of refined products, including distillates, gasoline and jet fuel, down almost 280,000 bbl/day from the previous week.
US domestic crude oil production rose 15,000 bbl/day last week. Production out of the Lower 48 increased 20,000 bbl/day while output from Alaska fell 5,000 bbl/day.
Note that US inventory numbers now exclude about 31 million barrels held in lease stocks.