Thirsty Thursday: An Inventory Report (1/26/23)

Posted: January 26, 2023
Previous Reports

Hello, and welcome back to another Thirsty Thursday: An Inventory Report. Before we jump in, let’s first mix up a cocktail; this week we are making the Chinese New Year Martini! I’m sure you’re smart enough to guess why I chose this one… But if you can’t quite figure it out four days ago was the lunar or Chinese new year! Parts vodka, bitters, and vermouth are sure to get you in the right mindset for this week’s report (but not too much!), so mix one up and here we go!

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

After a few big swings in inventory in the past weeks, it is almost refreshing to see that the EIA reported a tiny build of half a million barrels. Their forecast was fairly accurate this week too, estimating a build of nearly a million barrels.

Not sure what is going in with the API’s data this week as they reported a build of 3.4 ish million barrels, quite a bit off of the EIA’s reported value… The API had forecasted a build of 1.6 million barrels. Remember that the red and green don’t necessarily indicate good or bad, just that the actual reported value was either under or over the forecasted value.

If you’re looking for a change in the SPR graph below don’t strain yourself, there isn’t one. No, I didn’t forget to update it, and no neither did the SPR. There just isn’t any change this week! There were 0 barrels of oil released from the SPR, so that’s a first in a long time.

Here’s just another way to look at the data. We have the U.S. Crude Oil Inventories bar graph on the left (top on mobile) and the crude oil stock line graph on the right (bottom on mobile). The line graph helps to give some context to the weekly data as it goes all the way back to June 2021 and provides the 5-year range.

The difference between WTI’s high and low this week is about $2, and as of this moment is 81.19 (+1.29%). Brent went through a similar dip in price over the week, dropping about $3 from its high, however, regained most of its fall. Brent is now at $88.22 (+1.70%). According to “Crude’s sharp fall was triggered by data showing that U.S. manufacturing activity shrank in January for the seventh straight month…”

Brent Crude Oil
WTI Crude Oil

Natural gas also dropped this week, by about 70 cents, however, unlike oil did not recover. Since December 15th of last year, gas has dropped over $4. Unfortunately, we are playing a game of “how low can you go?” with the price of natural gas.

Natural Gas Price

While gasoline prices have been fairly quiet lately, they have slowly been on the move upwards, most likely due to increased demand. This last week saw another slight increase. Gasoline stocks are also on the rise, but that is about normal this time of year.

Gasolines’ national average price increased this week by 13 cents. Not much in the grand scheme of things but one of the larger increases as of late. I’m almost as tired of reporting it as you are of reading it but California is still selling gasoline at the highest price in the country while Texas is the lowest. Perhaps I’ll only mention state gas prices in the future if anything changes! Either way, the national gas price average is now at $3.502 per gallon. I don’t typically include the map on the right but I found it interesting this week.

I don’t typically include the map on the right but I found it interesting this week. The red states indicate where gasoline is most expensive. To my dismay, Colorado falls under this category when it typically doesn’t. This week there are a few red states that aren’t usually red, likely because of refinery issues causing localized gas prices to increase. Those of us in Colorado can expect gas prices to perhaps go even higher as our only refinery is out of commission. I wrote more about that in this month’s Basin Breakdown report highlighting the DJ basin.

Both distillate stocks and propane stocks creep downward this week. The more concerning one is by far distillates, although both tend to slope downward this time of year. What is concerning about distillates is that this year’s stocks aren’t in the 5-year range, indicating that something is off. Perhaps a mild winter in most parts of the world is helping to keep economies buzzing.

That’s all I have for you, happy lunar new year and we’ll see you again next week, cheers!

Photo by Rumman Amin on Unsplash

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