In the week to Friday, petrol inventory increased by 10.5 mln bbl to 257.3 mln bbl and distillate stocks rose 500,000 bbl to 122.7 mln bbl. Inventory of crude oil and petroleum products, including strategic reserves, surged by 33 mln bbl to 1.955 bln bbl. Refinery utilisation slipped to 75.6% from 82.3% in the previous week as refiners cut processing of crude oil amid plunging prices due to the coronavirus crisis.
At 1051 IST, the West Texas Intermediate May crude oil contract was at $25.80 per bbl. Prices have slipped more than 35% since early March as demand took a significant hit due to lockdowns across the globe. A price war between Saudi Arabi and Russia further dampened the sentiment. However, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia will discuss possible production cuts in a video conference later today, which could lift the sentiment for oil. Meanwhile, crude oil output in the US, the largest producer, fell by 600,000 bbl per day to 12.4 mln bpd. Imports by the US fell by 173,000 bpd on week to an average of 5.87 mln bpd. US crude oil exports decreased by 322,000 bpd on week to 2.83 mln bpd. Crude oil imports from Mexico climbed up by 377,000 bpd to 894,000 bpd, but those from Ecuador fell 423,000 bpd to only 65,000 bpd. Crude oil inventory at Cushing in Oklahoma, a key delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude, surged by 6.4 mln bbl to 49.2 mln bbl. Market participants closely monitor stockpile in Cushing as it has a storage capacity of about 90 mln bbl. The report also showed that the US' strategic petroleum reserves were unchanged at 635.0 mln bbl.