I am expecting a modest draw in crude oil stocks in Cushing, Ok as the Seaway pipeline is now pumping and refinery run rates are continuing at high levels in that region of the US. This would be bearish for the Brent/WTI spread in the short term which is now trading around the $16/bbl premium to Brent level. I am still of the view that the spread will continue the process of normalization over the next 6 months.
With refinery runs expected to increase by 3.5% I am expecting a modest build in gasoline stocks. Gasoline stocks are expected to increase by 1 million barrels which would result in the gasoline year over year deficit coming in around 12.1 million barrels while the deficit versus the five year average for the same week will come in around 5.0 million barrels.
Distillate fuel is projected to increase by 1 million barrels. If the actual EIA data is in sync with my distillate fuel projection inventories versus last year will likely now be about 28.4 million barrels below last year while the deficit versus the five year average will come in around 22.9 million barrels. Exports of distillate fuel are likely to have also restarted.
The following table compares my projections for this week's report (for the categories I am making projections) with the change in inventories for the same period last year. As you can see from the table last year's inventories are not exactly in sync with this week's projections. As such if the actual data is in line with the projections there will be a significant change in the year over year comparisons for crude oil and to a lesser extent for gasoline.