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US crude oil, petroleum stockpiles down in week to Oct. 18

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude oil and petroleum stockpiles headed lower in the week to Oct. 18.

U.S. crude oil inventories, excluding the strategic petroleum reserve, declined by 1.7 million barrels from the week prior to 433.2 million barrels, according to the agency's Oct. 23 "Weekly Petroleum Status Report." Total gasoline inventories declined by 3.1 million barrels to 223.1 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels to 120.8 million barrels.

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Total U.S. crude oil inputs climbed 2.8% on the week to 15.9 million barrels per day for a trailing four-week average of 15.9 million bbl/d, down 2.7% from the same period a year ago but 1.1% above the five-year average. The EIA pegged U.S. refinery utilization at 85.2%, down from both the year-ago level of 89.2% and the five-year average of 87.4%, with PADD 1 utilization pegged at 60.3%.

On June 21, a fire broke out at a 335,000-bbl/d refinery operated by Philadelphia Energy Solutions Inc. in PADD 1, destroying one of the complex's alkylation units. Two weeks before the fire, one of the plant's fluid catalytic cracking units, which converts high-boiling, high-molecular-weight hydrocarbon fractions into products such as gasoline, reportedly had been shut down. The company announced June 26 that it would shut down the complex and prepare it for sale.

In late July, Valero Energy Corp. executives said the company was supplying the U.S. East Coast market from its 220,000-bbl/d Pembroke refinery in the U.K. in the wake of the disaster.

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Meanwhile, total U.S. gasoline production was mixed versus historical averages. Finished motor gasoline production was down 1.9% from the prior week to bring the trailing four-week average to 10.1 million bbl/d, down 1.0% from the year-ago level but up 1.5% from the five-year average.

Distillate production climbed 1.6% on the week, bringing the trailing four-week average to 4.8 million bbl/d, down 2.5% from the same week a year ago but up 1.4% versus the five-year average.

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