US DATA: Cushing crude stocks up for first time in 5 weeks - API

7 Feb 2024

Quantum Commodity Intelligence – US crude oil stocks posted a lower-than-expected build for the week ending 2 February, while the increase in gasoline inventories was largely offset by a draw in distillates, according to data released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute.

The latest API numbers revealed a 674,000 barrel increase in crude inventories, coming in below expectations for a 2 million barrel build, while Cushing posted an increase for the first time in five weeks.

The key Cushing storage hub, the delivery point for the NYMEX WTI futures contract, increased by 492,000 barrels after the January decline, which saw inventories drop from around 35 million barrels at the start of the year to the 28-million-barrel mark.

Meanwhile, gasoline inventories increased 3.652 million barrels, while distillates dropped by 3.699 million barrels for an overall net build of 627,000 barrels.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve added 600,000 barrels as the low-scale buyback program continued after the Department of Energy released 180 million barrels from the SPR in 2022, with restocking limited to around 3 million barrels per month after the DOE said logistics will limit throughputs.

Meanwhile, the 3-2-1 crack spread, a measure of US refining profitability against gasoline and heating oil margins, was around $27/b based on Mar24 futures contracts early Wednesday, up from around $25/b last week as refined product cracks firmed on refining disruptions.

BP was still carrying out assessments on production units at its 440,000 bpd Whiting refinery on Tuesday, although TotalEnergies has restarted all but one production unit at its 238,000 bpd refinery in Port Arthur refinery in Texas nearly three weeks after freezing temperatures knocked the entire plant offline.

The weekly API report serves as a forerunner to the closely watched Energy Information Administration Weekly Petroleum Status Report, which will be published later Wednesday.