The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed a
steep drawdown in crude stockpiles. 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 pulled back their utilization rates by
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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
fell by 3.70 million barrels for the week ending August 10, 2012,
following a plunge of 3.73 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 1.5 million barrels. A
drop in production and higher demand led to the third consecutive
weekly stockpile drawdown with the world's biggest oil consumer
even as imports rose modestly.
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 - increased by 899,000 barrels from previous
week's level to 45.20 million barrels. Stocks are just under the
all-time high of 47.78 million barrels reached earlier in June.
At 366.16 million barrels, current crude supplies are 3.4% 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 down from
23.7 days in the previous week to 23.4 days. In the year-ago
period, the supply cover was 22.9 days.
Supplies of gasoline decreased for the third time in as many weeks
as domestic consumption jumped 5.3% to 9.31 million barrels a day.
This was partially offset by higher production and imports.
The 2.37 million barrels drop - slightly above analyst projections
- took gasoline stockpiles down to 203.70 million barrels. As a
result of this decrease, existing inventory level of the most
widely used petroleum product is now 3.0% 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 677,000 barrels last week, compared to analyst expectations
for an unchanged inventory level. The rise in distillate fuel
stocks - the first in three weeks - could be attributed to weaker
demand and higher imports. This was partially offset by lower
At 124.22 million barrels, distillate supplies are 19.4% below the
year-ago level and are under the lower limit of the average range
for this time of the year.
Refinery utilization was down 0.2% from the prior week at 92.6%.
Analysts were expecting the refinery run rate to decrease 0.3%.