Crude Oil, Gasoline Inventory Surprises

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 2 million barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 359.1 million barrels, above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

The American Petroleum Institute estimate called for a weekly crude inventory rise of 221,000 barrels and Platts saw a decrease of 2.3 million barrels to the gasoline supply. Crude prices, which were mixed early today, have declined following today's report from the EIA. The higher crude inventory build and the lower-than-expected drop in gasoline inventories have tamped down both crude and gasoline prices.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week and remain in the lower half of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a drop of 0.1% compared with the same period a year ago.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 8.6 million barrels a day, an increase of 530,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 84.7% of capacity, with daily input of 14.3 million barrels a day, down 287,000 barrels a day from the previous week.

Distillate inventories, which include diesel fuel, rose by 1.5 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.4 million barrels a day last week, down 11.9% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.4 million barrels a day last week.

The impact of Hurricane Isaac, which has closed essentially all crude production and refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico, continued to have an impact on refinery utilization and production last week. The storm's effects could linger into this week and next as well.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down 0.06% at $36.09 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $42.30.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down 0.04% at $61.52 after posting a new 52-week high of $61.95 earlier today. The previous 52-week range was $44.65 to $60.10.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Oil & Gas Tagged: UGA, USO