Oil Futures Gains Fade

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- In post inventory trade Wednesday, crude and refined products futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange trimmed a portion of early morning gains, with front-month West Texas Intermediate consolidating above $66 per barrel (bbl) after a larger-than-expected draw from U.S. commercial crude and distillate stocks that were countered by an unexpected build in gasoline inventories as demand for refined fuels fell from the previous week.

Near 11:45 a.m. EDT, NYMEX June West Texas Intermediate futures gained 43 cents to trade just above $66 per bbl and the July Brent contract on ICE added 55 cents to $69.42 per bbl. NYMEX June ULSD futures advanced 1.44 cents to $2.0134 gallon and NYMEX May RBOB traded little changed near $2.1555 gallon.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories dropped by 8 million bbl during the week-ended April 30 to 485.1 million bbl, and now stand about 2% below the five-year average, according to the data released this morning by the Energy Information Administration. The draw was bullish against market expectations for a 2 million bbl decline and earlier estimates from the American Petroleum Institute showing a drop of 7.688 million bbl.

A larger-than-expected crude draw came as the U.S. refinery run rate rose by a sharp 1.1% from the previous week to 86.5%, boosting daily crude processing to above 15 million barrels per day (bpd), which was 225,000 bpd more from the previous week's average.

Domestic crude production remained unchanged from the previous week at 10.9 million bpd, according to the data.

Oil stored at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI futures contact, rose 254,000 bbl from the previous week to 46.3 million bbl.

In refined fuels, gasoline stockpiles unexpectedly increased by 737,000 bbl from the previous week to 235.8 million bbl compared with analyst expectations for inventories to have fallen 900,000 bbl. Gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure for demand, remained little changed near 8.864 million bpd, falling off from a nine-month high 9.104 million bpd reported in early April.

Distillate stocks fell by 2.9 million bbl to 136.2 million bbl and are now 2% below the five-year average. Earlier in the week, analysts had estimated distillate supplies would show a smaller 1.2 million bbl decline from the previous week. Demand for distillates, however, declined 205,000 bpd from the previous week to 4.125 million bpd. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 5.6 million bbl last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.8 million bpd, up by 34.2% from the same period last year.

Liubov Georges can be liubov.georges@dtn.com

Liubov Georges