My projections for this week’s inventory report are summarized in the following table. I am expecting the US refining sector to hold relatively steady as the recovery from Isaac is offset somewhat by normal refinery maintenance getting underway. I am expecting a modest build in crude oil inventories, and a small build in both gasoline and distillate fuel stocks. I am expecting crude oil stocks to increase by about 1.5 million barrels. If the actual numbers are in sync with my projections the year over year comparison for crude oil will now show a surplus of 25.7 million barrels while the overhang versus the five year average for the same week will come in around 36 million barrels.
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 $19.50/bbl premium to Brent level.
With refinery runs expected to decrease by 0.02% I am expecting only a small build in gasoline stocks. Gasoline stocks are expected to increase by 0.2 million barrels which would result in the gasoline year over year deficit coming in around 18.8 million barrels while the deficit versus the five year average for the same week will come in around 7.9 million barrels.
Distillate fuel is projected to increase by just 0.3 million barrels. If the actual EIA data is in sync with my distillate fuel projection inventories versus last year will likely now be about 29.6 million barrels below last year while the deficit versus the five year average will come in around 24.2 million barrels.
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 in directional sync with this week's projections. As such if the actual data is in line with the projections there will not be a significant change in the year over year inventory comparisons.