U.S. crude stocks rise greatly exceeds expectations

U.S. crude stocks

U.S. crude stocks rose last week, exceeding analysts' forecasts. Meanwhile, distillate stocks fell, according to the reports prepared by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Stocks exceed expectations

According to the EIA, U.S. oil stocks increased by 6.9 million barrels during the week to April 19, reaching 459.6 million. This is five times higher than estimated as analysts' expected a rise by 1.3 million barrels.

For its part, refinery crude runs went up by 225,000 barrels per day, the API added.

Gasoline stockpiles rose by 2.2 million barrels, the institute said, while analysts estimated a drop by 1 million barrels, according to Reuters.

Distillate stocks, which include diesel and heating oil, decreased by 865,000 barrels, lower than the expected 1.2 million drop.

In the meantime, U.S. crude imports went up last week by 793,000 barrels per day to 7.4 million bpd.

Crushing crude inventories went down by 389,000 barrels, the API indicated.

EIA offers more conservative figures

The Energy Information Administration states that crude inventories rose by 5.5 million barrels in the week to April 19. This is slightly below the number published by the API.

For its part, the agency indicates that, in that period, net U.S. crude imports increased by 877,000 bpd.

Refinery crude runs rose by 505,000 bpd, EIA data showed; while refinery utilization rates rose by 2.4 percentage points.

Gasoline stockpiles fell by 2.1 million barrels.

On the other hand, distillate stockpiles dropped by 662,000 barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 463,000 barrels, the EIA added. This confirms the 389,000-barrel drop reported by the API.

Expectations of the oil price fall

Oil prices went down after the close of trading, following the reports published by the IEA and the API.

However, the effect that the sanctions against Venezuela and Iran – as well as the OPEC’s discipline – will have on the market is yet to be seen.

Furthermore, Saudi minister Khalid al Falih affirmed his country has no intention to raise oil output right away, in order to offset the cut in Iranian crude supply.

“Inventories are actually continuing to rise despite what is happening in Venezuela and despite the tightening of sanctions on Iran,” Khalid told the press in Riyadh.

“That’s why I see no need to raise oil output (…) but the kingdom would respond to customers’ needs if asked for more oil,” he assured.

President Donald Trump decided to put an end to the waivers granted to eight countries, including China, allowing them to import Iranian crude without incurring sanctions.

On Monday, Trump assured Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members will “compensate” for the lack of supply from other nations.

Iran announced it will maintain production

Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country will export its as much as it needs.

“U.S.'s efforts to boycott the sale of Iran's oil won't get them anywhere,” Jamenei said on Twitter. “We will export our oil as much as we need and we intend.”

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assured Tehran is willing to negotiate with Washington if the nation dials down on the pressure and issues an apology. “Negotiation is only possible if all the pressures are lifted, they apologize for their illegal actions and there is mutual respect," he said.

For more information, check Energía16

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