Oil Holds Losses After EIA Confirms Large Crude Build

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)oil futures eroded further in post-inventory trading Wednesday after federal data showed commercial crude oil inventories in the United States increased for the fifth consecutive week through Nov. 17. Gasoline stocks unexpectedly built as demand for transportation fuel dropped well below 9 million barrels per day (bpd) despite forecasts for a pick-up in holiday travel for the Thanksgiving weekend.

U.S. gasoline consumption dropped back to the lowest level since late September, falling 469,000 bpd or 5% from the previous week to 8.480 million bpd, according to data released midmorning by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Gasoline demand is currently running some 4% below the five-year average despite the American Automobile Association projecting this holiday season will see the third-highest Thanksgiving travel since it began collecting the data in 2000.

Further details of the EIA report showed nationwide gasoline stockpiles rose by 700,000 barrels (bbl) to 216.4 million bbl, some 2% below the five-year average. Analysts had expected a 600,000 bbl draw.

Distillate stocks, meanwhile, decreased by 1 million bbl in the reviewed week to 105.6 million bbl against expectations of a 600,000 bbl draw. Distillate stocks were 13% below their five-year average, according to EIA said.

In the crude complex, commercial stockpiles once again rose by a larger-than-expected margin last week, up 8.7 million bbl to 448.1 million bbl, and remained 1% below the seasonal five-year average. The larger-than-expected build follows a massive 17.5 million bbl increase in commercial stockpiles over the past two weeks. Oil stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, farm tanks, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), rose by 900,000 bbl to 25.9 million bbl.

U.S. crude oil production remained unchanged at 13.2 million bpd for the fifth consecutive week, topping the previous weekly high of 13.1 million bpd set during the week ended March 13, 2020.

The refinery run rate increased 0.9% from the previous week to 87% of capacity compared with expectations for a 0.8% increase. Domestic refiners processed 15.5 million bpd of crude oil in the reviewed week, 106,000 bpd more compared to the prior week's average.

Near 11:45 a.m. ET, January West Texas Intermediate futures declined $3.30 to $74.76 bbl and December ULSD futures fell $0.0449 to $2.8800 gallon. December RBOB futures shed $0.0734 gallon to $2.1604 gallon.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com.

Liubov Georges