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Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets

Julianne Geiger

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise build of 3.097 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories, compared to an S&P Platts’ survey of analysts that expected inventories would draw down by 400,000 barrels for the week ending October 6.

Gasoline inventories, according to the API, saw a decrease of 1.575 million barrels for the week ending October 6, against an expected build of 1.4 million barrels.

Both WTI and Brent benchmarks were up on Tuesday as much of US offshore production remains offline after more than 92% of Gulf of Mexico production in the US was taken out by Tropical Storm Nate. Saudi Arabia also lifted some spirits as it promised to lower November exports, although China is likely behind much of the Saudi’s export cuts as it shutters refineries for maintenance as planned, and as China’s government sets strict import levels—and shows signs of being more strict in 2018.

Prices climbed even further on Wednesday, with WTI up to $51.31 at 4:37 pm EST, and Brent at $56.86.

Gasoline was trading up 1.04% on Wednesday, at $1.61.

For the US, the total drawdown of crude oil in 2017 now stands at just shy of 23.5 million barrels, according to API data.

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Distillate inventories increased this week, up 2.029 million barrels. Analysts had expected a drop of 1.64 million barrels.

S&P Global Platts analysts and API were way out of synch this week, estimating builds where API sees draws, and draws where API sees builds.

Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, site increased by 1.216 million barrels this week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EDT—a one day delay due to the Columbus Day holiday in the United States.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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