The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed
that crude stockpiles jumped unexpectedly, as imports climbed. The
report further revealed that within the 'refined products'
category, gasoline stocks dropped, while distillate supplies were
up from the week-ago levels. Meanwhile, refiners kept their
utilization rates unchanged.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status
Report, which contains data for the previous week ending Friday,
outlines information regarding the weekly change in petroleum
inventories held and produced by the U.S., both locally and abroad.
The report provides an overview of the level of reserves and their
movements, thereby helping investors understand the demand/supply
dynamics of petroleum products. It is an indicator of current oil
prices and volatility that affect businesses of companies engaged
in the oil and refining industry, such as
Valero Energy Corp.
Analysis of the Data
The federal government's EIA report revealed that crude inventories
jumped by 3.78 million barrels for the week ending August 24, 2012,
following a slide of 5.41 million barrels the week before.
Analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of
McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
), had expected oil stocks to go down some 2 million barrels. A
sharp rise in the level of imports led to the stockpile build-up -
the first in 5 weeks - with the world's biggest oil consumer.
However, crude inventories at the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma -
the key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on the New York
Mercantile Exchange - edged down by 421,000 barrels from previous
week's level to 44.82 million barrels. Stocks are currently just
under the all-time high of 47.78 million barrels reached in June.
At 364.52 million barrels, current crude supplies are 2.1% above
the year-earlier level, and are over the upper limit of the average
for this time of the year. The crude supply cover was up from 23.2
days in the previous week to 23.5 days. In the year-ago period, the
supply cover was 23.0 days.
Supplies of gasoline decreased for the fifth time in as many weeks
despite domestic consumption declining slightly. The fall in
gasoline inventories could be attributed to lower production and
The 1.51 million barrels drop - below analyst projections - took
gasoline stockpiles down to 201.23 million barrels. As a result of
this decrease, the existing inventory level of the most widely used
petroleum product is now 3.6% off the year-earlier levels and is in
the lower limit of the average range.
Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) inched
up by 873,000 barrels last week, compared to analyst expectations
for an unchanged inventory level. The rise in distillate fuel
stocks - the third in as many weeks - could be attributed to higher
At 126.08 million barrels, distillate supplies are 19.2% below the
year-ago level and are under the lower limit of the average range
for this time of the year.
Refinery utilization was unchanged from the prior week at 91.2%.
Analysts were expecting the refinery run rate to decrease
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