Crude oil prices got another lift today after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw of 4.5 million barrels for the week to August 7.
At 514.1 million barrels, inventories remain above the five-year average for this time of the year despite several hefty weekly draws, including one of 7.4 million barrels for the first week of August. Analysts had expected the authority to report an inventory draw of 3.2 million barrels.
The EIA report comes on the heels of the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly estimate, which saw inventories had shed 4.4 million barrels in the week to August 7, pushing prices higher.
In gasoline, the EIA reported an inventory decline of 700,000 barrels for last week, compared with a moderate increase of 419,000 barrels for the previous week. Gasoline production last week increased, to 9.6 million barrels daily, from 9.3 million bpd a week earlier.
In distillate fuels, the authority estimated an inventory draw of 2.3 million barrels for the week to August 7, which compared with a build of 1.6 million barrels for the previous week, Distillate fuel production stood at an average of 4.8 million bpd last week, compared with 4.9 million bpd a week earlier.
Distillate fuel inventories have been slower than gasoline ones to come down and they remain high above the seasonal five-year average, Reuters’ John Kemp noted last week. At the time, distillate fuel inventories were close to 180 million barrels, the highest since the early 1980s, and 38 million barrels above the five-year average.
Amid this buildup of distillates, caused in no small part to the still continuing depression in air travel, refineries processed 14.7 million barrels daily of crude oil last week. This was up slightly on the previous week, when refineries in the U.S. processed 14.6 million barrels of crude daily.
Brent crude was trading at $45.22 a barrel at the time of writing, with West Texas Intermediate at $42.40 a barrel, both slightly up on Tuesday’s close.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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