After the American Petroleum Institute surprised markets yesterday by reporting a build of 3.66 million barrels for the week ending August 10, the Energy Information Administration today confirmed a build, but reported that it had been significantly bigger at 6.8 million barrels.
Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had forecast an inventory decline of 1.7 million barrels for the period.
The EIA reported that at 414.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are a bit above the five-year average for the season.
In gasoline, inventories were down by 700,000 barrels last week, compared with a build of 2.9 million barrels a week earlier but slightly above the seasonal average. Gasoline production averaged 10.2 million bpd, from 9.9 million bpd the week before last.
Meanwhile the market is worrying about supply from Venezuela and preparing for the last round of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which will target its oil industry specifically. Some oil bulls are preparing for oil prices of US$150 and even US$200, Reuters reported yesterday, citing prominent hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand and Jean-Louis Mee, chief executive of Westbeck Capital.
Andurand expects oil to jump to US$150 a barrel as U.S. sanctions against Iran kick in in a couple of months and crude supply shrinks by a million bpd or more. Mee is even more bullish, seeing the ultimate loss of supply at more than 2 million bpd.
“Our view is that by November 4, we will have lost between 1.3 and 1.4 million barrels (of output) a day. It is a very big number. That’s based on the view that the U.S. will allow a few temporary exception waivers .... Ultimately, we could see losses from Iran exceed 2 million barrels a day,” the Westbeck Capital chief executive said.
|Irina Slave for OilPrice.com|