Oil Futures Mixed as US Crude Stocks Build, Products Draw

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Crude and refined product futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved mixed in midmorning trade Wednesday, with front-month West Texas Intermediate edging higher following the release of government data showing U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly increased during the week ended Nov. 19 and domestic production rose to 11.5 million barrels per day (bpd), offsetting larger-than-expected drawdown from fuel supplies as demand for petroleum products pushed higher ahead of the holiday season.

Midmorning inventory data reported nationwide crude oil supplies increased 1 million barrels (bbl) from the previous week to 434 million bbl and are now about 7% below the five-year average. Earlier this week, analysts expected crude inventories would decline by 800,000 bbl. The crude build was realized even as domestic refiners increased run rates for the fifth consecutive week through Nov. 19, up 0.7% to 88.6%, compared with analyst expectations for a 0.3% increase.

Domestic crude oil production, meanwhile, increased 100,000 bpd to 11.5 million, according to EIA. Oil stored at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub -- the delivery point for WTI futures -- rose 787,000 bbl from the previous week to 27.4 million bbl.

Additionally, gasoline stockpiles declined by 602,992 bbl from the previous week to 211.4 million bbl compared with analyst expectations for inventories to have decreased 500,000 bbl. Demand for motor gasoline gained 93,000 bpd from the previous week to 9.334 million bbl, while remaining more than 100,000 above the five-year average. Gasoline consumption in the United States typically strengthens heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, with over 53 million Americans expected to hit the road this week, according to the American Automobile Association.

Distillate stocks fell 2 million bbl to 121.7 million bbl and are now about 5% below the five-year average. Analysts had estimated a smaller 700,000 million bbl decline from the previous week. Distillate demand extended higher for the third consecutive week to 4.391 million bpd.

Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased 6 million bbl last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 20.7 million bpd, up 7% from the same period last year. Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.3 million bpd, up 11.5% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.2 million bpd over the past four weeks, up 3% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied was up 40.4% compared with the same four-week period last year.

In late morning trading, NYMEX January WTI futures advanced $0.33 to trade at $78.83 bbl and NYMEX December RBOB futures traded unchanged near $2.3385 gallon. The front-month ULSD contract gained to $2.4025 gallon, up 1.82 cents on the session so far.

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

Liubov Georges