EIA Confirms Moderate Crude Build, Products Draw

Crude oil prices went lower today, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an estimated inventory increase of 4.2 million barrels for the week to February 23.This compared with a build of 3.5 million barrels for the previous week, which was accompanied by inventory declines in gasoline and middle distillates.

In gasoline, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 2.8 million barrels for the week to February 23. Production averaged 9.4 million bpd during the week.This compared with an inventory decline of 300,000 barrels for the previous week, when production stood at an average of 9 million barrels daily.In middle distillates, the authority reported an estimated inventory decline of 500,000 barrels for the week to February 23, with production averaging 4.3 million barrels daily.

This compared with an inventory draw of 4 million barrels for the prior week, when production averaged 4.2 million bpd.Oil prices, meanwhile, rose on Tuesday following reports that OPEC+ would extend its production cuts until the end of the year. While not surprising, the move might out a floor under prices.

OPEC+ members collectively decided to cut 2.2 million bpd from the group’s production this quarter, although much of that was production cuts that were already in effect, including Saudi Arabia’s 1-million-bpd voluntary cut, launched in mid-2023.On the same day, however, the American Petroleum Institute reported an estimated oil inventory build for the week to February 23, offsetting the effect of OPEC+ cut expectations. Traders and analysts had expected an inventory draw.

The API said Tuesday that inventories had added a hefty 8.43 million barrels in the week to February 23. While oil prices trended higher earlier in the day, the EIA’s report will likely reverse the direction as the market remains extra-sensitive to U.S. crude oil inventory updates.At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $84.15 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was changing hands for $79.31 per barrel, both up from opening.