Surprise Build In Gasoline Inventories Shocks Oil Markets

Posted April 25, 2017

Oil prices dipped on Wednesday as bloated USA supplies weighed on markets while a fall in Saudi crude exports was offset by rising production in the country.

Crude oil closed down sharply by the end of the trading day Wednesday after investors mulled over the latest data set from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

EIA reported crude oil stocks down 1 million barrels and total stocks down 1.1 million barrels from one year ago.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 32 cents, or 0.63 per cent, to $50.76 a barrel.

On Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo called on all non-OPEC producers who aren't part of the output-cut agreement to join the pact, according to a news report from Platts.

OPEC agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day for the first six months of 2017, while 11 other non-OPEC countries including Russian Federation agreed to limit supply.

Oil prices regained some ground on Thursday after steep losses the previous day, with a slight drop in USA crude inventories stoking the hope that a global supply overhang might slowly retreat. Gasoline margins have since come under downward pressure, which analysts warned could undermine crude prices as well.

The energy minister of OPEC member the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday he saw healthy oil demand growth this year and believed inventories would fall.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are cutting oil production by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 for six months, the first reduction in eight years.

Brent crude futures were at $53.34 per barrel at 0715 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.77 per cent, from their last close. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih reportedly said it is too early to make a decision on a deal extension.

Overall, June WTI futures advanced to near $51.30 p/b at the U.S. open with June Brent futures close to $53.40.

U.S. gasoline production fell by 133,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 9,794,000 bpd on April 7-14, 2017.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil, were at US$54.77 per barrel at 0354 GMT, down 12 USA cents from their last close.

Meanwhile, "oil prices have traded in a tight $5 range for over a month". US rig counts are up for 14 straight weeks returning output to levels not seen since April 2015.