US crude stocks down 4.2M barrels; Gasoline up 3.9M, Cushing builds too – API

 US crude oil stockpiles possibly fell as much as 4.0 million barrels last week while inventories of gasoline likely rose by an almost similar level of 3.9 million, as refiners appeared to maximize fuel production due to lucrative returns, petroleum trade group API reported Tuesday.

Builds were also seen in distillates — a feedstock for diesel and heating fuel — which were delivering some of the highest refining profit margins, known as “cracks”, now due to supply shortages, the weekly inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute showed.

Typically at this time of year, demand for fuels is softer in the United States as fewer families do trip roads with children back in school or college. Yet, refiners seem to be optimizing gasoline and diesel production, incentivized by cracks.

“To give an idea of what cracks are worth now, the one for New York ULSD, which is representative of diesel, is at around $45 a barrel prompt,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. “Just over a decade ago, we used to have diesel cracks in the single digits and sometimes even the negative.” 

The U.S. crude inventory balance fell by 4.21M barrels during the week ended Sept. 29, according to the API, after a build of 1.586M in the prior week to Sept. 22.

Cushing sees 0.7M barrel build, API says

Aside from that balance, the API also noted a 0.705M barrel rise at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude, versus the previous week’s draw of 0.828M. Last week’s build would be the first in months for Cushing, where the trade had feared inventories would fall to such critically low levels that would complicate withdrawals from the storage hub.

On the fuel side, the petroleum trade group reported a gasoline inventory build of 3.946M barrels and distillate stocks rise of 0.349M barrels.

The API data serves as a precursor to official inventory data on the same due from the US Energy (NASDAQ:USEG) Information Administration, or EIA, on Wednesday.

For last week, analysts tracked by expect the EIA to report a crude stockpile build of 0.05 million barrels, versus the 2.170M barrel drop reported during the prior week to Sept. 22.

On the gasoline inventory front, the consensus is for a draw of 0.3M barrels over the 1.027M-barrel build in the previous week. Automotive fuel gasoline is the No. 1 U.S. fuel product.

With distillate stockpiles, the expectation is for a decline of 0.068M, versus the prior week’s gain of 0.398M. Distillates are refined into heating oil, diesel for trucks, buses, trains and ships and fuel for jets.

Source: US crude stocks down 4.2M barrels; Gasoline up 3.9M, Cushing builds too – API (

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