Oil prices slipped Wednesday morning, following two positive settlements earlier in the week. Crude benchmarks pulled back following a report suggesting US crude stocks rose last week. By 08.00 AM GMT Brent crude was trading at $69.8/bbl, 0.23% down, while WTI was almost flat at $64.46/bbl.
US crude stockpiles were seen up by 4.8 million bbls last week, beating expectations of a 1.6 million bpd drop, according to a Reuters poll. The inventory build, if confirmed, puts a stop to a nine-week streak of crude storage declines in the US. The build comes as refinery input declined by 420,000 bpd w-o-w, while seaborne crude oil imports rose by 410,000 bpd w-o-w, according to Thomson Reuters Oil Research trade flows data.
Gasoline stocks rose by 4.1 million bbls, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.4 million bbls gain. Distillate stockpiles fell by 1.3 million bbls, compared with expectations for a 1.5 million bbls drop, according to the oil & gas industry body. US crude imports were reported up by 1 million bpd to 8.3 million bpd.
Available refinery capacity in the US declined sharply last week on the back of a combination of planned and unplanned unit outages. Capacity and refinery runs will likely remain limited for the coming weeks as units undergo maintenance. Crude stockpiles could start mounting again as an outcome of lower processing, while production maintains an uptrend, assuming no major shifts in the imported and exported crude oil levels.
The Oil Research Team
Supply Chain & Commodities Research