Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cushing crude oil stockpiles rise 0.8%, satellite survey shows

Crude oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose 0.8% on 17 November from 15 November.

Stockpiles held in floating-roof tanks at the hub gained 224,000 barrels to 28.3 million, satellite images taken by the Longmont, Colorado-based company show. The Energy Department said last week that Cushing inventories, including floating and fixed tanks, totaled 32 million barrels as of 11 November.

Cushing is the physical delivery point for New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures contracts and the largest crude- trading and storage hub in the US.

The estimate is based on images of 234 operational floating-top tanks at Cushing. The number of fixed-roof tanks at the hub is 81.

The hub has a total capacity of just over 70 million barrels and working storage capacity of about 58 million barrels, according to Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Cushing’s floating-roof tanks are used mostly to store crude oil, according to Lipow, who estimates that over 95 percent of the storage volume in the hub is floating tanks. Fixed-roof tanks are for storing petroleum products with lower vapor pressures, such as jet fuel and distillate, he said.

Some fixed-roof tanks in Cushing may have been retrofitted with internal floating roofs and may be used to store crude oil, according to Lipow.

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