Tuesday, November 1, 2011

US crude oil stocks should increase 1.1 million barrels: analysts


New York (Platts)

Weekly oil data from the US Energy Information Administration and the American Petroleum Institute should show a 1.1 million barrel rise in US commercial crude inventories for the week ended October 28, analysts polled by Platts said Monday.

API is scheduled to release its weekly data at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT) Tuesday. EIA's weekly oil statistics will be released at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) Wednesday.

Stocks are expected to rise but at a much slower pace than reported the week to October 21, where crude stocks surged 4.735 million barrels.

However, based on the five year average for crude oil stocks, a more than 1.1 million-barrel draw could be seen.

Tom Pawlicki of MF Global is expecting near unchanged crude inventories following the previous week's large increase as imports are expected to slow.

US refinery utilization is expected to be 0.1 percentage point lower at 84.8% of capacity, based on EIA figures.

"The trend [for imports] is generally lower through the remainder of the year," Pawlicki said. He noted that a decline in inventories is also expected near year-end due to tax issues and the [Last In-First Out] accounting system, "but that may be less of a problem now, as prices and inventories are only slightly higher than they were at the start of the year."

Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover said the reports are expected to be influenced by crude oil imports, which have been "volatile" have gotten into the act, with last week's increase of 1.452 million b/d, for the week to October 21, preceded by a decline of 1.165 million b/d after a build of 386,000 b/d and a decline of 1.002 million b/d.

"Volatility has spread to the [Department of Energy] figures, apparently," he said.

US gasoline inventories are expected to fall on average about 1.5 million barrels, which is above the five-year average that shows a more modest 427,000-barrel decline.

Domestic distillate stocks should also fall, according to analysts, by 2.2 million barrels, as demand during the winter-time weather increases.

--Alison Ciaccio, alison_ciaccio@platts.com

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