Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oil: We're Swimming in It

And I'm not talkin' BP.
The immediate term, in contradistinction to the post immediately below "$150 oil: Who will be worst hit, and who will benefit?", is flush with the stuff. Crude closed down $2.77 on the NYMEX today.
From Hard Assets Investor:

WTI Oil Storage Builds To A Record High

As traders fretted over reports of ballooning inventories and a strengthening dollar, crude oil prices nose-dived to the $80 level following the largest one-day tumble in three months. On Tuesday, the front-month NYMEX June contract dropped $3.45 a barrel, or 4 percent, in the most active trading session since mid-April.

Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute estimated that crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla. delivery hub rose by 1.7 million barrels to record high levels. As it turned out, API's estimate was pretty much dead-on. Definitive figures released by the U.S. Energy Department this morning showed Cushing stocks climbed by 1.6 million barrels, or 4.6 percent. In the past four weeks, supplies at the NYMEX terminus have risen 12.1 percent to 36.2 million barrels.

Overall crude oil inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels, much higher than nonindustry forecasts. The Street was looking for a build between 700,000 and 1.1 million barrels. The API forecast a 3-million-barrel increase.

The API's call for a 1.5-million-barrel increase in gasoline stores was also close to the mark. Government figures showed motor fuel inventories rose 1.2 million barrels. Analysts had eyed a modest 100,000- to 200,000-barrel build.

Both the API and the Street overshot the distillates number, however. Supplies of middle distillates, including heating oil and diesel, rose 600,000 barrels according to the Energy Department. Analysts had predicted a 1.5 million- to 1.7-million barrel increase while the API estimated a 1.4-million-barrel uptick.

Analysts' call for a 0.1 percentage-point dip in refinery usage proved way off-base when the Energy Department disclosed the utilization rate actually jumped 0.6 points to 89.6 percent.

Despite this, production decreased slightly. Gasoline output averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, while daily distillate fuel production slipped to 4.2 million barrels.

By the government's measure, gasoline demand averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, up 3.5 percent from the same period last year. Using a different method, MasterCard Inc. reported consumption averaging 9.2 million barrels a day....MORE