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Weekly Oil Storage Report: Where Was The Storage Build In Q1?


  • EIA reported a crude storage draw of 4.617 million bbls versus our forecast for a 6.11 million bbl draw.
  • This report marked the end of Q1 storage balances, which saw crude build only 869k bbls, while total US liquids stockpile decreased 39.69 million bbls.
  • US crude exports also came in at a record high of 2.175 million b/d following our last week's commentary.
  • Going forward, the bullish Q1 storage balance bodes very well for storage balances for the rest of 2018.

Welcome to the weekly oil storage report edition of Oil Markets Daily!


EIA reported a crude storage draw of 4.617 million bbls versus our forecast of -6.11 million bbls. The big differences in our forecast and the report were the much-higher-than-expected crude imports offset slightly by the increase in crude exports. Production also came in higher, and along with the positive adjustment, the crude storage draw was lower than what we had forecasted. Nonetheless, oil bears that thought Q1 2018 would see U.S. oil storage build will be sorely disappointed to find a nonexistent build in crude and a draw in total liquids stockpile.

This shouldn't have been a surprise to any of our readers, as we had been table-pounding that Q1 2018 will turn out to be much more bullish than people expected.

On the refined products side, gasoline and distillate storage changes came in line with the 5-year averages. This is encouraging to see given refinery throughput has been much higher than the five-year average, and yet, refined product storage is tracking the five-year average. In addition, total liquids stockpile continues to decrease and went below 2015 levels today.

This week also saw U.S. crude exports hit a new all-time high of 2.175 million b/d. This was following our weekly oil storage report last week, where we said that U.S. crude exports are expected to keep increasing for the rest of the year on the back of a supportive Brent-WTI spread and LOOP starting to load VLCCs for crude exports.

The one bearish data point that came in this week was the higher-than-expected crude imports. Our forecast for Q1 2018 was for crude imports to average below the 5-year average, but that wasn't the case, leading U.S. crude storage to show minimal build versus our bull case for a storage draw.

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This article was written by

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