The EIA's report showed a draw in crude oil inventories which conflicted with Tuesday's American Petroleum Institute's (API) report that showed a build. Imports for the week increased, along with production, but a larger than expected draw in gasoline could keep the oil complex buoyed.
However, the tailwinds for crude oil now vastly outnumber the headwinds, so prices will likely continue upwards in the coming days, especially in light of the escalation in Israel following the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that ignited protests in Gaza, prompting an immediate military response from the IDF. Momentum is neutral to negative as the fast stochastic generated a crossover sell signal in overbought territory.
According to the latest Oil Market Report, demand is now expected to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day (MMBPD), instead of 1.5 MMBPD.
Refinery crude runs rose by 149,000 bpd, while refinery utilization rates rose by 0.7 percentage points to 91.1 percent of overall capacity. This is up week over week but still down year over year.
United States gasoline stocks drew 3.790 million barrels to 232.014 million barrels. Jet fuel product supplied is down 5.6 percent compared to the same four-week period previous year.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for US crude futures rose by 53,000 barrels, the EIA said. "Because if you reach infrastructure constraints in terms of ability to put additional barrels on the market and you're going to be taking off Iranian barrels - and don't forget Venezuelan production, which has played a huge role in balancing this market - and they (OPEC) could lose a million barrels year-on-year".
Source U.S. Energy Information Administration Short Term Energy Outlook May 2018
Despite rising imports stocks moved lower. At 432.4 million barrels, USA crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.
US crude stocks fell last week as exports hit a new one-week record, while inventories of both gasoline and distillates fell, the Energy Information Administration said. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels last week. Over the last month, gasoline demand averaged about 9.4 million barrels per day, up by 0.7% year over year.
The recent decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement has raised fears that renewed sanctions by Washington could severely hit production from the Middle East state, which now produces 3.8 million bpd and exported 2.6 million bpd last month - making it Opec's third-largest supplier.
Tuesday evening, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories rose by almost 4.9 million barrels in the week ending May 11.
Still, gasoline stocks were down sharply, falling by a surprise 3.8 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.4 million-barrel drop.
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