Oil Prices Fall Despite Surprise Draw In Crude Inventories

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated that there was a surprise draw this week for crude oil of 4.28 million barrels, compared to analyst predictions of a 25,000 barrels build.

U.S. crude inventories have shed some 77 million barrels since the start of 2021 and about 20 million barrels since the start of 2020.

In the week prior, the API reported a build in crude oil inventories of 3.754 million barrels after analysts had predicted a draw of 1.867 million barrels.

Oil prices were trading down on Tuesday as it became less likely that the EU would reach a unanimous agreement to ban the imports of Russian oil and gas.

WTI was trading down 0.73% at $111.30 per barrel on the day at 3:30 p.m. ET—up $15 per barrel on the week. Brent crude was trading down 0.42% on the day at $115.10 per barrel on the day—also up $15 per barrel on the week.

U.S. crude oil production is not picking up. For six weeks in a row—including the most recent week—U.S. oil production has languished at 11.6 million bpd—still down 1.5 million barrels per day from pre-pandemic times.

This week, the API reported a draw in gasoline inventories at 626,000 barrels for the week ending March 18—after the previous week’s 3.794-million-barrel draw.

Distillate stocks saw a decrease in inventory of 826,000 barrels for the week, after last week’s 888,000 barrel increase. Cushing saw a 646,000-barrel increase this week. Cushing inventories rose to 24 million barrels as of March 11, according to EIA data—down from 59.2 million barrels at the start of 2021, and down from 37.3 million barrels at the end of 2021.

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