From the Field
Oil prices fall on soaring US crude stockpiles
LONDON, May 2, 2019 – Oil prices fell on Thursday in Asia after a weekly US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed US crude stockpiles rose much more than expected.
The US Crude Oil WTI Futures were down 0.2% to $63.45 by 12:30 AM ET (04:30 GMT), while international Brent Oil Futures also fell 0.2% to $72.00.
Crude stockpiles rose by 9.9 million barrels in the week to April 26, six times more than the forecasts for a build of 1.5 million, the EIA said in its regular weekly report.
The EIA said gasoline inventories rose by 0.9 million barrels, compared to expectations for a draw of 1 million barrels. Distillate stockpiles dropped by 1.3 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decline of 193,000 barrels.
US crude production, meanwhile, rose by 100,000 barrels, to a record high of 12.3 million barrels per day.
The fall in oil prices today were relatively modest as US sanctions on Iranian and Venezuelan oil and unplanned outages in Libya and Angola continued to provide some support.
Meanwhile, analysts at Bernstein Energy said current price levels reflected the average marginal cost for most listed oil producers.
“We have surveyed the 50 largest listed oil and gas companies globally… Based on 2018 annual reports we estimate that the global marginal cost of oil remained stable at $71 per barrel,” Bernstein said in a note on Thursday that was cited by Reuters.
“This is on line with current spot prices but higher than the long-term oil forward strip price of $61 per barrel,” the note said.
“With oil prices rising more than costs, industry margins increased by more than 200 percent in 2018,” Bernstein said, adding that industry profitability is “at the highest in the last 5 years.”