The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday that the nation’s gasoline inventories increased by 6.5 million barrels in the week ending September 29, 2023, while crude oil stocks declined by 2.1 million barrels. The gasoline build was much higher than
analysts’ expectations of a 1.5 million-barrel increase, and the crude draw was smaller than the forecast of a 3.5 million-barrel decrease.
The EIA attributed the gasoline stockpile surge to lower demand and higher production, as refineries operated at 92.4% of their operable capacity last week, up from 90.9% in the previous week. Gasoline production increased to 10.4 million barrels per day (b/d), while gasoline demand dropped to 9.2 million b/d, according to the EIA.
The crude oil inventory decline was mainly driven by lower imports and higher exports, as net imports fell by 0.9 million b/d to 4.7 million b/d, and exports rose by 0.4 million b/d to 3.6 million b/d. Domestic crude oil production remained steady at 11.8 million b/d, according to the EIA.
The EIA’s weekly petroleum status report also showed that distillate fuel inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, decreased by 3.7 million barrels last week, more than the expected 2.5 million-barrel drop.
The EIA’s data had a mixed impact on oil prices, as gasoline futures fell sharply on the bearish demand outlook, while crude futures edged higher on the supportive supply situation. As of 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, the front-month contract for reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygen blending (RBOB) traded at $2.65 per gallon, down $0.07 or 2.6% from Tuesday’s close, while the front-month contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil traded at $88.95 per barrel, up $0.13 or 0.1% from Tuesday’s close.