US crude stocks weekly data likely to show 2.3 mil-barrel decline: analysts
New York (Platts)--17Dec2012/409 pm EST/2109 GMT
US commercial crude stocks are expected to show a 2.3 million-barrel
decline for the reporting week ended December 14, according to a Platts
survey of analysts conducted Monday.
At 372.6 million barrels, as of the reporting week ended December 7, US
crude stocks are amply supplied, sitting 13.75% above the five-year average
of US Energy Information Administration data. The expected draw is about
half of what the week-on-week change in the EIA five-year average suggests is
typical for this time of year.
US crude stocks have declined a cumulative 3.3 million barrels since the
reporting week ended November 9, with draws seen in four of the last five
weeks. Oil stocks typically fall around 13.5 million barrels between the
weeks ended November 23 and December 28, according to Tom Pawlicki, director
of market research at EOX Live. Pawlicki expects US crude stocks to draw by 1
Article continues below...
Daily futures podcast
Listen to today's end-of-day snapshot podcast about the oil futures market. Every weekday, Platts London reporters record a brief update in the middle of the EMEA day. Platts New York reporters post an end-of-day podcast. Follow @PlattsOil on Twitter to find links to the daily snapshot podcasts.
"[H]olders of oil typically try to liquidate more expensive oil
purchases made later in the year and report the less expensive oil acquired
earlier," Pawlicki said. "[I]t's been difficult to determine whether oil
holders are in fact liquidating, since stocks gained [843,000 barrels] last
Pawlicki also said elevated crude production could stem the magnitude of
the declines as suggested by the EIA five-year average. At 6.852 million b/d,
US crude production is at its highest level since late-December 1993.
Carl Larry, president at Oil Outlooks and Opinions, expects US Atlantic
Coast refineries likely increased runs last week, contributing to a draw. "We
should also see our [crude oil]imports ease off as they tend to do during
this season," Larry said.
The Platts survey of analysts shows US refinery utilization should
In products, analysts surveyed expect a build of 2 million barrels for
US gasoline stocks, and 1.5 million barrels for US distillate stocks.
US gasoline stocks have been climbing recently, jumping a cumulative
16.73 million barrels over the past three reporting weeks. At 217.12 million
barrels for the most recent reporting period (ended December 7), US gasoline
stocks were 2.83% above the EIA five-year average, a level not seen since
March. A week-on-week change in the EIA five-year average suggests US
gasoline stocks could increase by just over 1 million barrels.
Likewise, US distillate stocks have been boosted recently, up over 6
million barrels over the prior two reporting weeks. But at 118.055 million
barrels, US distillate stocks remain tight, sitting 18.73% below the EIA
five-year average. The five-year average suggests US distillate stocks are
likely to remain flat.
"Additional difficulty in predicting the products and utilization
numbers this week will be the impact of BP's Whiting refinery problems,"
Pawlicki said. "The facility shut its largest crude unit in November, however,
refinery inputs have increased since that time."
The American Petroleum Institute releases its weekly report Tuesday at
4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT), while the EIA will release its weekly data
Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT).
--James Bambino, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Katharine Fraser, email@example.com