Monday, January 24, 2011

API ANALYSIS: US crude stocks rise despite drop in imports

US crude stocks increased 3.533 million barrels for the week ending January 14 despite a drop in imports of 1.424 million b/d, an analysis of data released Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute showed.

Analysts polled by Platts projected a draw of 2.2 million barrels in crude stocks.

Crude oil imports on the Atlantic and West coasts took a nosedive. Atlantic Coast crude imports fell 711,000 b/d, which given limited refining capacity in that region, could represent a decline of just one or two cargoes.

Crude imports to the West Coast dropped 553,000 b/d to 763,000 b/d, with Canadian imports falling to just 64,000 b/d, a decrease of 180,000 b/d.

Atlantic Coast crude stocks declined 516,000 barrels to 11.3 million barrels despite the drop in imports and with inputs to refineries at a steady pace.

West Coast crude stocks tumbled 2.823 million barrels to 50.436 million barrels, with Alaska North Slope crude waterborne transits dropping to 2.54 million barrels from 4.478 million barrels the week before, as the shutdown of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System took its toll on inventories.

Gulf Coast crude inventories surged 7.376 million barrels to 163.665 million barrels, with inputs falling more than imports in that region. Crude inputs declined 231,000 b/d to 7.62 million b/d on the Gulf Coast, while imports slipped 84,000 b/d to 5.534 million b/d.

Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma -- home of the NYMEX delivery point for its benchmark contract -- declined 571,000 barrels to 36.867 million barrels.

In products, the API data showed a typical seasonal increase in gasoline stocks of 1.869 million barrels, despite a rise in demand and a drop in imports of 654,000 b/d last week. The inventory rise was due to increased US production of 144,000 b/d, to 9.017 million b/d. Analysts polled by Platts expected a build of 2.8 million barrels.

Stocks remain at a 3.351-million-barrel surplus from year-ago levels.

The East Coast garnered the bulk of the gasoline inventory rise where stocks rose by 2.743 million barrels, to 61.606 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline rose by 359,000 b/d to 8.980 million b/d, the API reported.

Stocks of middle distillates were in line with analyst expectations, rising 940,000 barrels to 167.437 million barrels, while demand dipped by 199,000 b/d to 4.036 million b/d. Stocks of ULSD were up 593,000 barrels to 108.529 million barrels, while heating oil stocks inched lower.

Imports of middle distillates dropped 99,000 b/d to 267,000 b/d with ultra low sulfur diesel stocks leading the decrease.

--Linda Rafield, --Alison Ciaccio,

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