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Oil Supported By Crude, Gasoline Draws

Storage tanks

Crude oil prices were trading lower today after the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude oil inventories had shed 2 million barrels in the week to March 15, with gasoline stocks also declining.

The crude oil inventory change compared with a draw of 1.5 million barrels for the previous week, which also featured a substantial inventory decline in gasoline inventories.

Gasoline inventories fell by 3.3 million barrels in the week to March 15, with production averaging 9.6 barrels daily. This compared with a draw of 5.7 million barrels and production of 9.9 million barrels daily a week earlier.

Middle distillate inventories added a modest 600,000 barrels in the week to March 15, with production standing at an average daily of 4.7 million barrels. These figures compared with an inventory build of 900,000 barrels for the previous week, when production averaged 4.6 million barrels daily.

Oil prices, meanwhile, continue combing higher amid growing concern about global fuel supply amid drone attack disruptions in Russian refining activity. Brent crude was trading above $87 per barrel earlier today, with West Texas Intermediate topping $83 per barrel.

At the time of writing, both benchmarks were down by close to 2% each as traders took profit and a stronger dollar suggested demand weakening.

A string of drone attacks carried out by Ukrainian forces on Russian refineries have idled several hundred thousand barrels in daily refining capacity although estimates vary considerably.

Reuters, for instance, estimates the shut-in capacity at a little over 300,000 barrels daily, while Gunvor has estimated the effect at 600,000 bpd in capacity. JP Morgan is even more dramatic, estimating the affected capacity at 900,000 barrels daily.

A decline in oil exports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq also contributed to higher prices, Reuters reported earlier in the day, citing UBS commodity strategist Giovanni Staunovo as noting that "Oil demand data surprising on the positive side and the extension of the voluntary OPEC+ cuts until the end of June have supported prices."

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • George Doolittle on March 20 2024 said:
    If the US economy no longer even needs oil based distillate fuels ("waste not want not") not really sure how important this market even is anymore especially when compared to the now massive electricity futures market in the USA #lng no one goes back to the ICE platform problem pure play BEV vehicles continue to show dramatic improvements and increasing sales growth so why pure play ICE platform vehicles cost as much as they do is quite the mystery as well #phev #commodization

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