economics

Oil Dips as Data Shows Biggest U.S. Crude Build Since January

Updated on
  • API said to report U.S. crude stocks rose 5.66 million barrels
  • Cushing, Oklahoma inventories seen dropping for 11th week

IEA Says U.S. to Dominate Oil Markets for Years

Crude slipped after industry data showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose by more than expected last week.

Futures in New York fell from the settlement Tuesday after the American Petroleum Institute was said to have reported crude inventories mounted higher by 5.66 million barrels last week. That would be the largest build since January if Energy Information Administration data confirms it on Wednesday in its release.

“That’s really bearish,” James Williams, president of London, Arkansas-based energy researcher WTRG Economics, said. If this size of a crude build “gets confirmed by the EIA, we’ll probably have a few days of lower crude prices.”

A Bloomberg survey showed crude storage in tanks and terminals across the country likely rose 3 million barrels last week.

Crude has closed above $60 a barrel over the last two weeks as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers work to tighten global markets through supply cuts. While the U.S. Energy Information Administration sees worldwide supplies accelerating this year and the next, with estimates for demand growth shrinking, Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said he isn’t losing any sleep over peak oil demand.

West Texas Intermediate for April traded at $62.32 a barrel at 4:38 p.m. after settling at $62.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level in a week. Total volume traded was about 10 percent below the 100-day average.

See also: OPEC and shale dinner serves small talk on oil and not much else

Brent for May settlement added 25 cents to end the session at $65.79 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark traded at a $3.34 premium to May WTI.

The EIA also boosted its U.S. crude output forecasts for 2018 and 2019, and said that production would top 11 million barrels a day in October -- a month ahead of prior estimates.

The API report also reported that Cushing, Oklahoma supplies contracted by 790,000 barrels and gasoline supplies declined by 4.54 million barrels. Distillate inventories rose, the data showed. A decline in motor-fuel inventories would be the first since late January and drop in Cushing supplies would be for an 11th straight week, when compared with EIA data.

“People are waiting to see: Will storage volumes point toward a tighter fundamental outlook?” said Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “It does appear as if we need more evidence that the rebalance continues to really ignite a rally again.”

Other oil-market news:

  • Gasoline futures fell 0.1 percent to settle at $1.9331 a gallon.
  • OPEC needs to embrace its role as the world’s “baffle" on oil prices if it wants to keep crude markets stable, ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Officer Ryan Lance said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.
  • Rail companies will start shipping more western Canadian crude by mid-year, helping clear a glut that’s devastated prices, Cenovus Energy Inc. CEO Alex Pourbaix said in an interview.
  • Chevron Corp. doubled its forecast for production from the Permian shale basin, adding to signs that U.S. shale growth will continue to upend global energy markets.

— With assistance by Tsuyoshi Inajima, and Grant Smith

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