US Stock Movements - April 2015

Source: OPEC 5/4/2015, Location: North America

Preliminary data for March shows that total commercial oil stocks rose by 23.4 mb to stand at 1,205 mb. With this build, they were nearly 148.3 mb or 14% above the same period one year ago and 137.9 mb or 12.9% higher than the latest five-year average. Within the components, commercial crude saw a build of 27.1 mb, while product stocks declined by 3.7 mb.

US commercial crude stocks rose sharply by 27.1 mb in March to stand at 471.4 mb, another record high. Since the beginning of the year, US commercial stocks have accumulated nearly 80 mb. Crude commercial stocks finished the month at 87.7 mb or 23% above the same time one year ago, remaining 97.8 mb or 26.2% above the fiveyear average. An ongoing increase in US domestic production, along with the WTI contango structure, has pushed crude oil inventories to another all-time record high. Increased crude oil imports, reaching 7.2 mb/d, also contributed to a build in commercial crude inventories. However, rises in crude oil refinery input limited a further build. Refineries were running at 88.6% of operable capacity in March, 0.9 pp higher than the previous month and 2.3% above the previous year at the same time. Crude at Cushing, Oklahoma has built continuously since the week ending 5 December, accumulating more than 36 mb and ending the month of March at nearly 60 mb, around 11 mb higher than February’s level.

In contrast to the sharp build in US crude commercial stocks in March, total product stocks fell by 3.7 mb to end the month at 733.9 mb. Despite this stock draw, US product stocks were around 60.6 mb, or 9.0%, above levels seen the same time a year ago, showing a surplus of 40.0 mb or 5.8% above the seasonal norm. Within products the picture was mixed, with the bulk of the stock draw coming from gasoline, while distillate stocks experienced the highest build.

Gasoline stocks fell by 10.9 mb in March, ending the month at 229.1 mb, which was 8.2 mb or 3.7% higher than the same period one year ago and 8.5 mb or 3.9% above the latest five-year average. The drop came mainly from stronger apparent demand, averaging more than 9.0 mb/d in March. Higher gasoline output limited a further drop in gasoline inventories.

Jet fuel stocks also fell by 2.4 mb, ending the month of March at 36.7 mb, which is 0.7 mb, or 1.9%, higher than the same month one year ago, but still 2.7 mb or 6.9% below the latest five-year average.

In contrast, distillate stocks rose by 4.2 mb in March, ending the month at 127.2 mb. At this level, they indicated a surplus of 11.8 mb or 10.3% more than the same period one year ago, but still represent a deficit of 5.3 mb or 4.0% with the five-year average. The build in middle distillate stocks reflected lower demand, which decreased by nearly 400,000 b/d, averaging 3.8 mb/d.

Residual fuel oil stocks also rose by 1.8 mb in March, to end the month at 38.7 mb, which is 2.3 mb or 6.3% higher than the previous year in the same period, and 1.1 mb or 3.0% below the seasonal norm.


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