US Stock Movements in May 2015

Source: OPEC 5/14/2015, Location: North America

Preliminary data for April shows that total commercial oil stocks rose for the sixth consecutive month, increasing by 44.7 mb, to stand at 1,250.1 mb. With this build, they were 163.2 mb or 15% above the same period a year ago and 167.2 mb or 15.4% higher than the latest five-year average. Within the components, commercial crude and products saw builds of 15.6 mb and 29.1 mb, respectively.

US commercial crude stocks have risen sharply since October 2014, accumulating around 126 mb to stand at 487.0 mb at the end of April and finishing the month at 93.9 mb or 23.9% above the same time last year and 106.5 mb or 28.0% above the latest five-year average. The increase in US domestic production, along with the WTI contango structure, pushed crude oil inventories higher. However, the last week of April saw a stock draw of 3.9 mb for the first time since the first week of January. This fall was mainly driven by a large weekly drop in crude imports, which declined by 0.9 mb/d week-on-week to average 6.5 mb/d. A higher increase in crude oil refinery input also contributed to this build. Indeed, refinery runs rose by 0.25 mb/d to average 16.3 mb/d, the highest rate of the year. Refineries were running at around 90.0% of operable capacity in April, 1.7 pp higher than the previous month and 2.8% above last year at the same time. Crude at Cushing, Oklahoma, saw a slight build of 1.7 mb in April versus March to end the month at 61.7 mb, with the last week of April showing a marginal stock draw of 12 tb. While the latest draw in US crude commercial stocks was seen as a positive sign for crude oil prices, the overhang remains very high, calling into question the recent WTI price performance.

Total product stocks rose by 29.1 mb in April to end the month at 763.1 mb, which is around 69.3 mb or 10.0% above the level seen at the same time a year ago and a surplus of 60.7 mb or 8.6% above the seasonal norm. With the exception of gasoline, all other products saw builds.

Gasoline stocks fell by 1.3 mb in April, ending the month at 227.9 mb, which is 11.9 mb or 5.5% higher than the same period a year ago and 13.5 mb or 6.3% above the latest five-year average. The drop came mainly from stronger apparent demand, which averaged more than 9.0 mb/d in April. Higher refinery output limited further drops in gasoline inventories.

In contrast, distillate stocks rose by 3.6 mb in April, ending the month at 130.8 mb, which is a surplus of 13.9 mb or 11.9% above the same period a year ago and 1.2 mb or 0.9% over the five-year average. The build in middle distillate stocks reflected higher output.

Residual fuel oil stocks rose slightly, by 0.1 mb, in April to end the month at 38.8 mb, which is 2.6 mb or 7.2% higher than last year at the same time, and they were in line with the seasonal norm. Jet fuel stocks fell slightly, by 0.2 mb, ending the month of April at 36.5 mb, which is 1.9 mb or 5.0% lower than the same month a year ago and 4.0 mb or 10% below the latest five-year average.


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