The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed a
small drawdown in crude stockpiles. The agency's report further
revealed that within the 'refined products' category, gasoline
stocks dropped, while distillate supplies were up from the week-ago
levels. Meanwhile, refiners pulled back their utilization rates by
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
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
fell by 809,000 barrels for the week ending July 13, 2012,
following a plunge of 4.70 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 1.4 million barrels.
Lingering impact of production shutdowns caused by the recent storm
activity led to the fourth consecutive weekly stockpile drawdown
with the world's biggest oil consumer.
In particular, crude inventories at the Cushing terminal in
Oklahoma - the key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on
the New York Mercantile Exchange - decreased by 500,000 barrels
from previous week's level to 46.28 million barrels. Stocks are
just under the all-time high of 47.78 million barrels reached
earlier in June.
At 377.39 million barrels, current crude supplies are 7.3% 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 flat from the
previous week at 24.1 days. In the year-ago period, the supply
cover was 22.9 days.
Supplies of gasoline decreased for the first time in 5 weeks
despite domestic consumption edging down 3.2% to 8.63 million
barrels a day. The fall in gasoline inventories could be attributed
to lower production and imports.
The 1.82 million barrels drop - contrary to analyst projections
for a 700,000 barrels increase in supply level - took gasoline
stockpiles down to 205.91 million barrels. As result of this
decrease, existing inventory level of the most widely used
petroleum product is now 3.1% off the year-earlier levels and is in
the lower limit of the average range.
Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) jumped
by 2.62 million barrels last week, exceeding analyst expectations
for a 1 million barrels build. The rise in distillate fuel stocks -
the second in as many weeks - could be attributed to higher
production. This was partially offset by stronger demand and lower
At 123.53 million barrels, distillate supplies are 16.8% below
the year-ago level and are in the lower limit of the average range
for this time of the year.
Refinery utilization was down 0.7% from the prior week at
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