Platts Survey of Analysts
• Crude oil stocks up by 2.5 million barrels;
• Gasoline stocks up 1.3 million barrels;
• Distillates stocks down 500,000 barrels;
• Refinery utilization, or run rate, down 0.75 percentage points to 87.05%.
Weekly oil data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) is expected to show a 2.5-million-barrel build in US commercial crude inventories for the week ended September 30, analysts polled by Platts said Monday.
API is scheduled to release its weekly data at 4:30 pm. EDT (2030 GMT) Tuesday. EIA's weekly oil statistics will be released at 10:30 am. EDT (1430 GMT) Wednesday.
The build in crude stocks comes as imports are expected to rise, said independent analyst Jim Ritterbusch.
"Crude supplies are expected to show a sizable build as a result of an anticipated continued strong import pace of around 9.6-9.7 million barrels per day (b/d)," Ritterbusch said.
Analyst Tom Pawlicki of MF Global said crude inventories will likely build as imports remain at somewhat elevated levels.
"Last week's inventory figure [for the week ended September 23] gained 1.9 million barrels due to an increase in inventories of 1.35 million b/d prompted by recovery from Hurricane Irene and [Tropical Storm] Lee earlier in the month," he said, adding that it brought the rate of imports to 9.7 million b/d from 8.35 million b/d,"which in both cases is near the low and high ranges for the year at 8.01 million b/d and 9.85 million b/d."
While Pawlicki said the rate of imports is unsustainable by that measure, it is also common for recoveries from storms to last for more than just one week.
At Cushing, Oklahoma – home of the New York Mercantile Exchange’s crude oil futures contract delivery point – Ritterbusch expects stocks to fall by 200,000 to 300,000 barrels due to a recent spike in Midwest refinery activity that has seen runs typically around 95% of capacity during this week in past years.
For overall refinery runs, analysts anticipate a 0.75-percentage-point drop in rates to 87.05% of capacity, based on the EIA data, due to planned maintenance, said analysts.
In refined products, analysts expect US gasoline stocks to rise 1.3 million barrels, while middle distillate stocks are projected to fall by 500,000 barrels.
"Product inventories are expected to fall slightly as demand for gasoline tapers off from the summer driving season and demand for distillates falls into the shoulder period," Pawlicki said.
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