U.S. crude oil stocks plunged 6.522 million barrels last
week, led by a nearly 4-million-barrel decline on the U.S.
Gulf Coast as imports pulled back, U.S. Energy Information
Administration (EIA) data released Wednesday shows.
At 373.586 million barrels, U.S. crude stocks for the week
ending July 27 were about 9.7% greater than the five-year
average and more than 18 million barrels greater than
stocks levels during the same time-frame in 2011.
Crude oil stocks were expected to resume their typical
decline for this time of the year, according to analysts,
after a counter-seasonal increase in stocks by some 2.7
million barrels during the week ending July 20.
Analysts polled by Platts had estimated a
1.6-million-barrel draw in crude stocks for the week ending
Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API)
reported a whopping 11.605-million-barrel draw in crude
stocks last week, as companies ramped up deliveries of
crude from stockpiles. Maria Coronado, senior economic
analyst at API, said Tuesday that the overall crude draw
was based mostly on business decisions by U.S. companies
who are surveyed by the association.
"We had over 1,000 of our respondents show a very big
draw last week in stocks," Coronado said, with the
majority in the Gulf Coast. "There were a lot of
deliverables during that week and although [refinery] runs
were lower this week, they are still averaging higher than
The Gulf Coast also led the decline in the EIA stocks data
with a 3.9-million-barrel draw in last week. During that
time, imports to the region fell 659,000 barrels per day
(b/d), more than offsetting a drop in Gulf Coast refinery
runs by 3.3 percentage points to 90.4% of capacity.
In the Midwest, crude stocks dropped 3 million barrels,
including a 1.4 million-barrel decline at Cushing, Oklahoma
- delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange's
(NYMEX) crude oil futures contracts. Cushing stocks at
45.100 million barrels were some 53% greater than the
Despite an upset at BP's 405,000 b/d Whiting, Indiana,
refinery, which shut its coker after a small fire late July
23, runs in the Midwest were at 98.9% of capacity, the
highest since the EIA began reporting those figures in June
Overall, U.S. refinery runs declined 0.8 percentage point
to 92.2% of capacity, but remain near a high of 93% of
capacity reached the prior week - the highest run rate
since July 2007.
Imports to the U.S. were down 1.227 million b/d to 8.406
million b/d, as some major importers lowered shipments to
Imports of Kuwaiti crude fell 349,000 b/d to 214,000 b/d
last week, the EIA data showed, although that was off of
any unusually high 563,000 b/d.
Imports from Saudi Arabia fell 221,000 b/d to 1.387 million
b/d, while imports from Canada dropped 202,000 b/d to 2.271
Nigerian imports jumped 380,000 b/d to 440,000 b/d,
compensating for a 321,000 b/d drop in Angolan imports to
GASOLINE STOCKS SUPPLY DEFICIT NARROWS
U.S. gasoline stocks fell 2.174 million barrels to 207.87
million barrels last week, tightening the supply deficit to
the five-year average, as both imports and production fell,
the EIA data showed.
U.S. gasoline stocks were 2.8% less than the five-year
average last week. The stock draw was concentrated on the
U.S. Atlantic Coast, which was particularly bullish for the
New York-delivered NYMEX RBOB contract. Atlantic Coast
stocks fell 1.289 million barrels to 52.811 million
barrels, causing the deficit to the five-year average to
widen to 8.39% from 6.58%.
U.S. West Coast stocks were also tight. Inventories fell
295,000 barrels last week to 26.6 million barrels, leaving
stocks at 8.42% below the five-year average.
The U.S. gasoline stock draw was caused primarily by a
382,000-b/d decline in imports to 638,000 b/d. On the
Atlantic Coast, which is increasingly dependent on imported
gasoline following recent refinery closures, imports fell
387,000 b/d to 577,000 b/d.
Net production and blending of finished gasoline fell
102,000 b/d on the Atlantic Coast and 122,000 b/d on the
Gulf Coast, likely the result of lower refinery runs.
Atlantic Coast refiners reduced crude inputs by 25,000 b/d,
while inputs on the Gulf Coast tumbled 323,000 b/d.
The decline comes among a slew of refinery news last week
including issues at BP's Whiting, Indiana, refinery,
Sunoco's Philadelphia complex and Valero's plant in
Meraux, Louisiana, which all experienced upsets last week.
U.S. implied gasoline demand* edged higher last week by
160,000 b/d to 8.82 million b/d. Still, the four-week
average at 8.756 million b/d was less than for the fourth
week in a row, and 2.38% below the same period in 2011.
U.S. distillate stocks fell 974,000 barrels to 124.27
million barrels, as production edged lower while demand
Implied demand jumped 264,000 b/d to 3.746 million b/d, the
EIA data showed, while production slipped 19,000 b/d to
4.628 million b/d.
* Implied demand is the amount of product that moves
through the U.S. distribution system, not actual end
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