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Things You Should Know About the EIA Crude Inventory Report

Nilanjan Choudhury

The U.S. Energy Department's inventory release showed that crude stocks recorded a weekly increase that was much larger than anticipated. On a bullish note though, the report revealed that refined product inventories – gasoline and distillate – fell from their previous week levels.

Below we review the EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week ending Oct 11.

Crude Oil: The federal government’s EIA report revealed that crude inventories rose by 9.3 million barrels, compared to the 4 million barrels increase that energy analysts had expected. Seasonal maintenance, which kept refining rates low last week, largely drove the bigger-than-anticipated stockpile build with the world's biggest oil consumer. This puts the total domestic stocks at 434.9 million barrels – 4.4% above the year-ago figure and 2% higher than the five-year average.

Oil in storage in the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma (the key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange) increased as well, rising by 1.3 million barrels.

The crude supply cover was up from 26.2 days in the previous week to 27.3 days. In the year-ago period, the supply cover was 25.4 days.

Turning to products, and it is a fairly positive story.

Gasoline: Gasoline supplies fell 2.6 million barrels as production for the fuel decreased by 68,000 barrels per day to around 10 million barrels per day. Analysts had forecast 1.8 million barrels decline. At 226.2 million barrels, the current stock of the most widely used petroleum product is 3.4% below the year-earlier level but exceeds the five-year average range by 2%.

Distillate: Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) were down 3.8 million barrels last week on higher demand, while analysts were looking for an inventory draw of 2.6 million barrels. Current supplies – at 123.5 million barrels – are 6.9% lower than the year-ago level and remain 11% below than the five-year average.

Refinery Rates: Refinery utilization was down 2.6% from the prior week to 83.1%, the lowest level since September 2017.

About the Weekly Petroleum Status Report

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status Report, containing data of the previous week ending Friday, outlines information regarding the weekly change in petroleum inventories held and produced by the U.S., both locally and abroad.

The report provides an overview of the level of reserves and their movements, thereby helping investors understand the demand/supply dynamics of petroleum products. It is an indicator of current oil prices and volatility that affect the businesses of the companies engaged in the oil and refining industry.

The data from EIA generally acts as a catalyst for crude prices and affect producers, such as ExxonMobil XOM, Chevron CVX and ConocoPhillips COP and refiners such as Valero Energy VLO, Phillips 66 PSX and Marathon Petroleum MPC.

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