WTI Futures Soften as Crude Build Offsets Product Draws

Brian L Milne
By  Brian L. Milne , DTN Refined Fuels Editor

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)oil futures softened in post-inventory trading Wednesday after U.S. Energy Information Administration reported commercial crude oil stockpiles increased for the fifth consecutive week through Feb. 23, countering drawdowns in product inventories.

U.S. commercial crude oil stocks rose 4.2 million barrels (bbl) to 447.2 million bbl, narrowing a deficit against the five-year average by 1.8 million bbl to 1.4%. The build came despite domestic refiners ramping up the run rate 0.9% in the reviewed week to 81.5% of capacity. U.S. refiners processed 14.7 million barrels per day (bpd) during the week ended Feb. 23, 100,000 bpd more than the previous week. Domestic oil production remained unchanged at a record high 13.3 million bpd for the fourth consecutive week.

Gasoline inventories declined 2.8 million bbl to 244.2 million bbl, some 2% below the five-year average. Gasoline supplied to the U.S. market -- a measure of demand -- rose 267,000 bpd to 8.467 million bpd.

Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 510,000 bbl last week and are about 8% below the five-year average.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.5 million bpd, down 3.2% from the same period last year. Over the past four weeks, gasoline supplied to the domestic market averaged 8.4 million bpd, down 3.1% from the same period last year.

Distillate fuel supplied to the U.S. market averaged 3.7 million bpd during the most recent four weeks, down 3% from the same period last year. Jet fuel supplied domestically was up 2.9% compared with the same four-week period last year.

Nearing the noon hour in New York, April West Texas Intermediate futures declined $0.65 bbl to $78.22 bbl, and March ULSD futures fell back $0.0816 to $2.6644 gallon, while front-month RBOB futures dropped $0.0504 to $2.2940 gallon.

Brian Milne can be reached at brian.milne@dtn.com.

Brian Milne