Wednesday, May 16, 2007

US oil and gas update

The EIA's "This Week In Petroleum" is a head scratcher...the report shows crude inventories still at the top of their historical range and WTI prices flat recently, and yet gasoline prices are still going up. Here are a couple of informative quotes from the TWIP site:

"Over 12 consecutive weeks during February, March, and April, total gasoline inventories declined by a cumulative total of more than 34 million barrels (15 percent). This is the sharpest decline in gasoline inventories over a consecutive 12-week period in EIA’s recorded historical data."

"Lower import levels than last year and numerous refinery outages, due to both maintenance and unexpected incidents, have slowed supply growth, while at the same time, demand continues to grow, even with prices around $3 per gallon. While demand growth has slowed somewhat in recent weeks, over the four-week period ending May 11, preliminary data suggests that gasoline demand is still 1.0 percent (or nearly 100,000 barrels per day) greater than year-ago levels."

Gas prices are going up and yet demand is going up at the same time. Apparently, drivers aren't that strapped by the price level. Also, if there has been such a large drawdown in gasoline stocks, a corresponding drop in crude stocks seems reasonable to expect. But it's not there. I'd like to know who is doing all the driving...

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