Oil Futures Higher After Bullish Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures posted moderate gains after the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. petroleum inventories were drawn down last week by more than expected.

The EIA's report for the week-ended July 14 showed domestic crude oil stocks declined by 4.7 million bbl to 490.6 million bbl, with gasoline supply down 4.4 million bbl while distillates stocks tumbled 2.1 million bbl.

The market expected a crude stock draw of 3 million bbl, stock build of 1.0 million bbl in gasoline inventories and a distillate fuel increase of 1.5 million bbl.

The EIA report was bullish in terms of crude compared to a report issued Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute showing a crude stock build of 1.6 million bbl.

"[This is] another very bullish headline report as all three categories reported draws," said analyst Kyle Copper at IAF Advisors in Houston. "Petroleum demand rebounded to above 21 million bpd and total petroleum stocks fell over 10 million bpd. This significantly expanded the deficit to last year while reducing the surplus to the 5-year average."

At last look, the August WTI futures contract was up 56cts at $46.96 bbl while September contract rose 56cts to $46.75 bbl. The August contract expires Thursday.

The IntercontinentalExchange September Brent crude futures contract was up 62cts at $49.46 bbl.

The August ULSD futures contract was 3.13cts higher at $1.5417 gallon while the August RBOB futures contract added 2.74cts to $1.5964 gallon.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@dtn.com