U.S. crude oil and fuel stockpiles rose last week, bolstered by another big release from strategic reserves, while demand slackened, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on July 13.
Crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week to July 8 to 423.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 154,000-barrel drop. Stocks in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell nearly 7 million barrels to their lowest since August 1985.
Refinery crude runs rose by 202,000 bbl/d in the last week, boosting utilization rates by 0.4 percentage point to 94.9%. U.S. Gulf Coast utilization rates rose to 98.1% as facilities there have been running full-tilt to satiate strong demandand for overseas exports.
U.S. demand tumbled in the most recent week, with product supplied slumping to 18.7 million bbl/d, its lowest since June 2021. Weekly figures are volatile, but the four-week average for product supplied is at 19.8 million bbl/d, down 4% from a year ago.
“Today’s inventory stats and overall builds in crude and products are indicative of investor worries on the overall economy,” said Tony Headrick, energy markets analyst at CHS Hedging.
U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 5.8 million barrels in the week to 219.1 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.7 million barrels in the week.
“The large gasoline build and huge drop in implied demand are causing a stir, but we saw super-strong implied demand ahead of the [Fourth of July] holiday weekend as gas stations stocked up—today’s data is just the hangover from that front-loaded demand,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst, Americas, at Kpler.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 576,000 bbl/d.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 316,000 barrels in the last week.
Despite the bearish report, the crude benchmarks rose after the huge sell-off on July 12. Brent crude was up $1.43/bbl to $100.93 as of 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT) while WTI crude in the U.S. rose $1.87 to $97.69/bbl.
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