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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u May 16, 2012 10:33 AM Flag

    Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 11, 2012

    Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 11, 2012

    U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending May 11, 302 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 9.1 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging just under 4.5 million barrels per day.

    U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.9 million barrels per day last week, down by 86 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged about 8.9 million barrels per day, 60 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 675 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 81 thousand barrels per day last week.

    U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 2.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 381.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week and are in the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels last week.

    Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 18.7 million barrels per day, up by 0.4 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged about 8.8 million barrels per day, down by 2.6 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 0.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 8.2 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

    Data Overview (Combined Table 1 and Table 9)

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      • 1 Reply to bluecheese4u
      • This Week In Petroleum

        Released: May 16, 2012
        Next Release: May 23, 2012

        Cushing crude oil inventories at record levels
        Crude oil inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub reached a record 45.1 million barrels on May 11 (Figure 1), after rising 16.9 million barrels since January 13, a marked contrast to the relatively flat level of inventories over January through April in recent years. The increases have come ahead of the Seaway pipeline reversal, expected to commence this week, and are largely the result of growing U.S. inland production and increasing imports from Canada. However, with the imminent reversal, the inventory builds have not weighed disproportionately on West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which have held up relatively well against global crudes such as Brent over the past few months.

        This year, we have not seen a repeat of 2011, when Cushing inventories reached a then-record 41.9 million barrels in early April, before generally declining slowly for the rest of the year as Cushing-linked refiners ran increasing amounts of crude. Instead, inventories have increased steadily into early May despite refineries in the Midwest running at record levels. Since January 13, gross inputs at Midwest refineries (most of which have access to Cushing crude) have averaged about 166,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) (5 percent) above year-ago levels, which themselves were above seasonally-typical averages. These increased runs have not been able to absorb increasing U.S. inland crude oil production and imports from Canada. Based on EIA monthly data, Midwest crude production in 2012 through February (the most recent data point) was more than 250,000 bbl/d (35 percent) higher than during the same period of 2011. Moreover, Canadian imports into the Midwest have also been at record levels. Monthly data show the Midwest received about 350,000 bbl/d (25 percent) more Canadian crude in January and February of 2012 than they did in the first two months of 2011. Not all of this goes into Cushing, but with inventories down elsewhere in the Midwest in 2012, the increased imports from Canada are likely pushing more inventories in that direction. While EIA weekly data do not break out country-level weekly imports by area of entry, most Canadian imports enter PADD 2. These preliminary data indicate the elevated Canadian imports have continued in March through May with volumes about 360,000 bbl/d higher than in 2011, continuing the pressure on Cushing inventories.

        Some of this pressure may be relieved as the Seaway pipeline is reversed and deliveries from Cushing into the Houston area begin. Inventory builds notwithstanding, WTI prices have held up relatively well recently against global crudes such as Brent, as market participants appear to have anticipated the impact of the reversal. After WTI averaged about an $18-per-barrel discount in February and March, that discount has narrowed by more than $1 per barrel in April and May. The WTI futures curve provides further evidence that the inventory builds may be seen as temporary. Counter to what might be expected when inventories build strongly, there has been no associated increase in contango which would signal a supply glut at Cushing. The average 1st-2nd month contango has averaged $0.44 per barrel in April and May, a penny decrease from the average in February and March, and lower than year-ago levels. Conversely, backwardation on the front end of the Brent curve has weakened somewhat over the same period, indicating perceptions of near-term global market dynamics have weakened.

        In addition to the Seaway reversal, increased runs at Midwest refineries following typical seasonal patterns could drain some inventories from Cushing in the

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