US DATA: API reports 6 million across-the-barrel stock draw

3 Apr 2024

Quantum Commodity Intelligence – US crude oil inventories posted a decline for the week ending 29 March, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles also retreated, according to a report released late Tuesday by the industry-backed American Petroleum Institute (API).

The latest API data showed crude inventories drained 2.286 million barrels, which was largely in line with expectations, coming after the API flagged a 9 million barrel build in the previous week.

The key Cushing storage hub, the delivery point for the NYMEX WTI futures contract, dipped by 781,000 barrels, although the broader trend has been for higher stocks over the previous two months.

Inventories at Cushing now stand at around 33 million barrels, having dipped to a 2024 low of around 28 million barrels in late January before rebounding during February and March.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve added another 600,000 barrels as the low-scale buyback program continued after the Department of Energy released 180 million barrels from the SPR in 2022.

Restocking has generally been limited to around 3 million barrels per month after the DOE said logistics would limit throughputs. This figure is expected to continue for the next few months with crude already purchased via tenders, but the recent surge in WTI prices is likely to pause further buying.

Meanwhile, gasoline stockpiles dropped another 1.416 million barrels, while distillates dropped 2.548 million barrels for an overall net oil draw of 6.25 million barrels, according to API calculations.

The 3-2-1 crack spread, a measure of US refining profitability against gasoline and heating oil margins, was holding around $30.50/b based on May24 futures contracts early Wednesday, with refined products largely keeping pace with the crude surge this week.