Oil Futures Rally on Smaller Crude Build, Run Rate Gains

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Crude and refined products futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallied in midmorning trade Wednesday, boosting the front-month West Texas Intermediate above $64 per barrel (bbl) after inventory data from the Energy Information Administration detailed a modest build in U.S. commercial crude and gasoline stockpiles during the week ended April 23, while distillate supplies fell more than expected and refiners increased run rates in anticipation of summer fuel demand.

Near 11 a.m. ET, NYMEX June West Texas Intermediate futures advanced $1 to trade just below $64 at $63.98 bbl and the June Brent contract on ICE added 97 cents to $67.39 bbl. NYMEX May ULSD futures rallied 3.23 cents to $1.9380 gallon and NYMEX May RBOB jumped 3.89 cents to $2.0593 gallon.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories remained little changed from the previous week at 493.1 million bbl, according to data released Wednesday morning by the EIA, up by a modest 90,016 bbl. Earlier this week, analysts estimated crude stockpiles would fall by 100,000 bbl and American Petroleum Institute data reported stockpiles increased by 4.319 million bbl. The modest build came as refiners increased run rates by 0.4% from the previous week to 85.4%, processing an average of 15 million bbl of crude daily. Domestic crude production decreased by 100,000 bpd to 10.9 million bpd.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate contact, rose by 722,000 bbl from the previous week, to 46.1 million bbl.

In refined fuels, gasoline stockpiles increased by 92,000 bbl to 235.1 million bbl, holding 3% below the five-year average. The increase was slightly above market expectations for inventories to rise by 200,000 bbl from the previous week. U.S. gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure for demand, unexpectedly declined 227,000 bpd to 8.877 million bpd, falling from a nine-month high 9.104 million bpd reported last week.

Distillate stocks fell by 3.3 million bbl to 139 million bbl and are now 1% above the five-year average. Earlier in the week, analysts estimated distillate supplies would fall by a smaller 100,000 bbl from the previous week. Demand for distillates, however, jumped 476,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the previous week to 4.33 million bpd. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.6 million bbl.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.7 million bpd, up by 35.5% from the same period last year.

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

Liubov Georges