Oil Initially Mixed to EIA Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange spot-month oil futures initially moved mixed in muted reaction to the release of the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration's data that showed another steep weekly crude oil stock draw and modest stock builds for refined products, with West Texas Intermediate crude reversing higher late morning. RBOB and ULSD futures maintained their upside posture amid a rash of refinery outages along the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday's WPSR data are unlikely to be heeded by the market given the extent of the disruptions to supply caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, said analysts. They said the disruptions will skew oil inventory data for several weeks.

EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week-ended Aug. 25 showed a 5.4 million bbl crude stock draw, the ninth straight weekly decline, to a fresh 19-month low of 457.8 million bbl. Crude oil stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, was 700,000 bbl higher at 57.2 million bbl.

Cushing supply is closely watched because that's the delivery location for NYMEX WTI futures. The EIA report also showed crude oil production flat, up 2,000 bpd during the week-ended Aug. 25 to a 9.53 million bpd better than two-year high.

On products, the EIA report showed gasoline stockpiles rose by nearly 35,000 bbl while distillate supplies increased by 748,000 bbl during the week reviewed.

Tropical Storm Harvey, which initially made landfall Friday (8/25) at the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane, hit western Louisiana overnight, forcing additional shutdowns to refineries. Fuel distribution networks have also been affected, and concerns over product short-term shortages sent RBOB a better than two-year spot high.

At last look, the September RBOB futures contract climbed 11.17cts to $1.8950 gallon, off a $1.9140 gallon fresh 25-month high, with the October RBOB contract up 5.14cts to $1.6533 gallon. The September ULSD contract climbed 2.90cts to $1.6945 gallon, off a $1.7161 gallon six-month spot high, while the October contract was up 1.76cts to $1.6716 gallon.

October WTI crude contract was down 36cts to $46.08 bbl. October Brent crude contract on the IntercontinentalExchange was down 54cts at $51.46 bbl, off a better than one-week spot low of $51.24. The November Brent contract was down 33cts at $51.33 bbl.

The September products contracts and October Brent contract will expire at the close of regular business on Thursday.

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