Oil prices slide on crude, building up distillate inventories

The American Petroleum Institute (API) this week reported a surprise crude oil rise of 1.080 million barrels, compared to analysts’ forecasts of a drawdown of 1.558 million barrels.

U.S. crude inventories have lost some 79 million barrels since the start of 2021 and about 22 million barrels since the start of 2020.

The previous week, the API reported a drop in crude oil inventories of 3.0 million barrels after analysts had predicted a decline of 1.558 million barrels.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, largely in response to the White House’s plan to release 180 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR, and plans by other countries that could release crude in a coordinated way against prices high oil.

WTI was trading down 2.41% at $100.80 a barrel that day at 3:47 p.m. ET, nearly $4 a barrel on the week. Brent crude was trading down 1.96% on the day at $105.40 a barrel on the day, down $5 a barrel on the week.

U.S. crude oil production reached 11.7 million bpd as of March 25. It was the first increase in U.S. crude oil production in months. Crude production in the United States is still down 1.4 million barrels per day from the pre-pandemic period.

This week, the API reported a drop in gasoline stocks to 543,000 barrels for the week ending April 1, following the previous week’s draw of 1.357 million barrels.

Distillate inventories saw an inventory increase of 593,000 barrels for the week, following last week’s drop of 215,000 barrels. Cushing saw an increase of 1.791 million barrels this week. Cushing’s inventory fell to 24.233 million barrels as of March 25, according to EIA data, from 59.2 million barrels at the start of 2021 and from 37.3 million barrels at the end of 2021.

At 4:48 p.m. ET, WTI was trading at $100.60 (-2.56%), with Brent trading at $105.30 (-2.07%).

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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