July 26 (UPI) — Low imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, coupled with firm domestic petroleum demand, will likely reduce U.S. oil inventories, analysts said Tuesday.
U.S. commercial oil inventories are expected to fall in the week ending July 21, analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts said in a report. U.S. crude oil stock has fallen nearly 19 million barrels in the past three weeks, as excess surplus is reduced.
The supply, as of July 14, was 26 percent higher than the five-year average, but lower than the 37 percent surplus above the five-year average seen at the start of 2017.
Sabotage was reported in Nigerian crude oil production on Tuesday, which came after Nigeria agreed to an eventual cap on production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. The disruption could cause the country to abandon the planned production limit, but the drop in output, coupled with Saudi Arabian reductions in production, meant a gain in oil prices.
The analysts surveyed said crude oil stocks can be expected to fall 2.5 million barrels, and the stocks of gasoline to fall by 1.25 million barrels.
Total petroleum product supplied rose to 21.178 million barrels per day in the week ending July 14, the highest on record for that week in prior years. Total petroleum demand’s all-time high was in the week ending June 30, at 22.225 barrels per day.
Gasoline demand remains strong at 9.592 barrels per day, and currently is 212,000 barrels per day above the five year average.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in the week ending June 14, U.S. refiners ran at 94 percent of their operable capacity; they produced 10.096 million barrels per day of gasoline, the most ever for the same reporting week.
The U.S. gasoline demand cover stands at 23.95 days. It was 24.77 days one year ago, suggesting a tighter market.