Oil Tumbles After Weekly EIA Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange spot-month oil futures dropped in midmorning trade Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported stock builds for crude and gasoline, and declines in implied demand for gasoline and distillate fuels.

The EIA reported crude stockpiles increased during the week-ended Feb. 23 by 3.0 million bbl to 423.5 million bbl. The build fell short of an estimated 3.75 million bbl increase and was accompanied by refinery crude inputs rising 49,000 bpd.

The federal agency also detailed a gasoline stock build of 2.5 million bbl to push supply to nearly 252.0 million bbl for last week, above an estimated rise of 1.75 million bbl, as implied demand for the fuel fell 142,000 bpd to 8.86 million bpd.

EIA also reported a 960,000 bbl distillate stock decline, below an expected draw down of 1.75 million bbl, as implied demand tumbled 303,000 bpd to 3.9 million bpd for the week-ended Feb. 23. With maintenance season underway, refinery runs eased 0.3% to 87.8% of total operable capacity, the data showed.

At the same time, the agency said domestic crude production edged up 13,000 bpd to a 10.283 million bpd fresh record high last week. This comes as concerns grow that rising U.S. crude production would undermine the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' efforts to rebalance the market.

The market is also looking at the strengthening U.S. dollar, which is adding downward pressure on oil futures.

At 11:00 AM ET, NYMEX April West Texas Intermediate crude futures were 73cts lower at $62.28 bbl, off $62.12 a four-day low. ICE April Brent crude futures contract was down 69cts to $65.94 bbl ahead of its expiration this afternoon, while May Brent futures were down 78cts at $65.74 bbl.

NYMEX March RBOB futures dropped 3.98cts to $1.7636 gallon, off a three-day low of $1.7608 ahead of expiration. The April RBOB contract was down 3.40cts at $1.9503 gallon. March ULSD futures fell 3.30cts at $1.93 gallon before expiration Wednesday afternoon, while the April ULSD contract eased 3.15cts to $1.9372 gallon.

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