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EIA: Oil Supplies Fall, Fuels Rise - Analyst Blog

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The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed a decrease in crude inventories on the back of lower imports, while gasoline supplies rose for the fifth straight week. The agency's report further revealed that distillate stocks posted another build, as supplies remain plentiful. Meanwhile, refiners reduced processing rates by 2.6%.

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 ExxonMobil (XOM) , Chevron Corp. (CVX) , ConocoPhillips (COP) , Valero (VLO) and Tesoro (TSO) .

Crude Oil

The federal government's EIA report revealed that crude inventories shrank by 1.93 million barrels for the week ending December 9, 2011, the first decrease in three weeks.

Analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. (MHP) , had expected oil stocks to go down some 2 million barrels. A fall in the level of imports led to the dip in stockpile with the world's biggest oil consumer even as refiners lowered their utilization rates.

However, crude inventories at the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma - the key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures - grew by 83,000 barrels from last week's level to 31.2 million barrels. Stocks reached an all-time high of 41.90 million barrels earlier this year.

At 334.15 million barrels, current crude supplies are 3.4% lower than the year-earlier level, but are in the upper limit of the average for this time of the year. The crude supply cover was down from 22.7 days in the previous week to 22.6 days. In the year-ago period, the supply cover was 23.8 days.

Gasoline

Supplies of gasoline increased for the sixth time in seven weeks as demand continued to lack luster. The 3.82 million barrels-build - almost double that of projections - took gasoline stockpiles up to 218.82 million barrels. The existing inventory level is 1.9% above the year-earlier levels and is above the upper limit of the average range.

Distillate

Distillate fuel inventories (including diesel and heating oil) were up by 480,000 barrels last week, compared with analyst expectations for a slightly higher build. The increase in distillate fuel supplies - for the third consecutive week - could be attributed to near-record production amid unseasonably warmer weather.

At 141.50 million barrels, distillate supplies are 12.3% below the year-ago level and are in the lower boundary of the average range for this time of the year.

Refinery Rates

Refinery utilization was down 2.6% from the prior week at 85.1%.

CONOCOPHILLIPS ( COP ): Free Stock Analysis Report

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EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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