Around The Barrel – U.S. Crude Oil Inventories Fell Huge -12.456Mbbls Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

US crude oil inventories fell -12.456Mbbls last week the EIA reported, with the 1.631Mbbls removed from SPR it was the biggest withdrawal since Sept 2016 Bloomberg reported. The WTI Futures Hub at Cushing had a build of 1.762Mbbls. Gasoline stocks continued to drop ahead of the big travel weekend around Memorial Day. Gasoline drew -2.053Mbbls and Distillate drew -0.561Mbbs in inventories. Gasoline seasonal stocks are hovering around the lowest since 2014. Refinery Utilization fell -0.30%%. Oil imports slid 1mbpd to 5.85mbpd, while exports rose nearly 250kbpd to 4.55mpbd.

Oil prices continued higher after the release, already bid after Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Tuesday told market speculators to “watch out.” OPEC+ is next set to convene at a ministerial level on June 4. Wildfires in Canada and news that OPEC was cutting production on target from Russia helped prices rise also.

Oil Outlook Messy

Last week the energy complex rose across the board, natural gas the big riser after 14.12% for the week. WTI futures rose +2.34% on the week, Brent was up 2.16%, heating oil was up 2.57% and gasoline up 6.10%.

The lows of this recent move and then rebound came after ten-day volatility in oil rose the highest level since October as crude sank for a third week. API reported big product draws which is supportive for the cracks. The contango structure and inflation having cooled from its recent peak, but remaining stubbornly elevated adds a volatile dynamic around settlements. The US regional banking disaster has filtered through to commodities such as oil, copper and natural gas.

Ten-day volatility in oil jumped to the highest level since October as crude sank for a third week.

Around The Barrel Contents

Click on the links below to navigate to the relevant section.

  1. DOE & API Petroleum Storage Forecast Matrix
  2. Crude Oil Quick Summary
  3. Weekly DoE US Petroleum Storage Report Breakdown
  4. API Crude Inventories
  5. Cushing Oil Stocks
  6. Crude Imports
  7. Crude Exports
  8. Gasoline
  9. Rig Watch
  10. Crude Oil Production
  11. Weather
  12. WTI Crude Oil Futures Technical Analysis
  13. DCOT Report
  14. Option Volatility and Gamma
  15. Key EIA and CME Dates

The risks of global recession threaten the demand picture and with higher rates push the likelihood of a meaningful recession higher. In 2023 the market has in the background the obtuse geopolitical framework framed by Russia’s Ukraine invasion, Germany’s inept energy policy, and Iran and China pursuing aggressive directions.

The soaring US dollar had a significant impact on commodity futures which has since reversed with the USD back at 7-month lows. Through it all demand and supply issues are the underlying guide.

The Week Ahead

DOE Weekly Petroleum Status Report Forecast

  • via
  • Report Date 5/17/23
  • Release Date Wednesday May 24, 2023 at 10:30 A.M


  • Crude EIA -12.456M Exp +0.800M Prior+5.040M API -6.700M
  • Cushing EIA +1.762M Exp +1.520M Prior +0.397M API +1.711M
  • Gasoline EIA -2.053M Exp -1.100M Prior -1.381M API -6.398M
  • Distillate EIA -0.561M Exp +0.400M Prior +0.80M API -1.771M
  • Refinery Utilization -0.30% to 91.7% Exp -0.3%
  • Production +100kbbls to 12,300kbpd (13.10 ATH)
  • SPR release -1.631k (Lowest Since Oct 1983)
  • NB: Crude oil supply adjustment 5/12/23 rose 0.842mbpd w/w to 1.614mbpd – EIA
  • US petroleum inventories (crude, SPR, refined products) fell by 12.399mb w/w to 1,589.539mb last week – EIA

Note in bbls *exp = Reuters poll estimates adjusted for API shift, except Cushing

US crude oil inventories rose +5.040Mbbls last week the EIA reported. Products came back to the mean after drawing heavily last week. Gasoline drew -1.381Mbbls and Distillate build of +0.80Mbbs in inventories. Gasoline seasonal stocks are hovering around the lowest since 2014. Refinery Utilization rose +1.00%.

Stocks have been building rather stoically in 2023, specifically at the Cushing WTI futures Hub.

Energy Price Matrix

Energy Market Performance

Update: PADD 3 Refinery Utilization

US Crude Oil Quick Look

Oil prices continue to be subject to geopolitical bifurcation dynamics with sudden changes that accompanies the onset of chaos. The unexpected knock-ons continue with imperfect bifurcation with political influence and personal vagaries from world leaders such as Putin, Scholz and Biden in addition to routine crude dynamics.

via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen

Final 2022 Inventory

  • Commercial crude oil inventories were up ~2.8m bbls
  • SPR inventories were down ~ 221.3m bbls
  • Gasoline inventories were down ~10.1m bbls
  • Distillates were down ~6.5m bbls
  • Jet Fuel inventories were down ~0.9m bbls
  • Propane was up ~14.5m bbls

Weekly DoE US Petroleum Storage Report Breakdown

Weekly Storage via DOE

with RonH Data ‏@Ronh and The Fundamental Angle ‏@BrynneKKelly

  Via RonH at Ron H Public Tableau Link

API Crude Oil Inventories

US petroleum (Crude, SPR, oil products) inventories in million barrels (EIA)

US petroleum inventories (crude, SPR, refined products) fell by 12.399mb w/w to 1,589.539mb last week- EIA

US total crude oil inventories (both commercial and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) have fallen to a 36-year low, dropping below the previous bottom set in 2001 via Bloomberg

US SPR crude inventories – 2.428M w/w at 359.6 million barrels the lowest since Oct 1983

Cushing Oil Stocks

Cushing, OK is the hub for the most heavily traded US oil Futures contract – West Intermediate Crude – WTI so for that reason we pay special attention to the storage there.

Cushing Storage Tanks
Cushing Storage Tanks

API Cushing Stocks

API Cushing

Weekly Update via RonH Data ‏@Ronh999

Cushing OK Crude Oil Storage Stocks

Closer Look at Cushing with DigStic Data @DigStic

US Oil Import Export



US crude imports by origin in kbpd (incl. w/w changes)

  • Canada +323 to 3592
  • Mexico +283 to 676
  • Saudi Arabia +34 to 415
  • Iraq -73 to 174
  • Colombia +292 to 339
  • Ecuador -44 to 101
  • Nigeria +186 to 329
  • Brazil +5 to 144
  • Libya -76 to 23



US crude exports surged in March according to US Customs data.

Exports to Asia hit 2MMBD for the first time as China took in almost half of those volumes. Exports to China have been depressed since 2020 and they have surged for the first time since then. @OilyticsData

US exports of crude and refined products in mbpd (EIA) – Record High ~11.776 million b/d.
US crude exports rose to record 4.146mbpd in October – EIA

The Russia, India and China mix

Russia said they would cut production by 500kbbls in March just as Russia launched its heaviest bombardment on southern Ukraine since the start of the war, as officials warned Moscow’s major offensive had ‘definitely’ started. There is a clear use of oil as a weapon by Putin. India and China being Russia’s main customers are not filling the demand void. Not hard to join the dots.

EU’s sanctions on Russian refined products were implemented Feb. 5. The ban follows a similar price cap on crude shipments introduced last year. European countries have pushed to lower the crude price cap ($60) on Moscow even further, but the Biden administration said it was inclined to oppose the move. 

Futures have been ignoring large US builds and have chosen hope with China opening up rather than negative morose from China’s economic implosion and the Central Bank maelstrom. Europe has been addressing energy dependance on Russia since the Ukraine invasion. President Vladimir Putin said Russia would immediately stop oil supply to countries that support the G7 members price cap on exports of Russian oil.

Since the cap, if not before Russian exports have been redirected to India and China in particular. Russian crude exports into India rose by 260kbd m/m in December to a record 1.2mbd. January exports are on-track to nearly 1.3mbd of Russian crude. Russian Exports to China were 70kbd in December, down nearly 27%m/m. We have seen Malaysia increase exports well beyond its own output to China. In turn China has exported products such as distillates back to Europe.

US Gasoline Consumers

Global diesel and gasoline margins trade near a one-month high with continued crude oil weakness not being reflected to the same extent in the fuel futures. May 17 via @Ole_S_Hansen

Input to Refineries


US consumers bought 396.4 million gallons of gasoline per day last week. That is +26.8 mil YoY.


US consumers spent $1,400.7 million dollars per day for gasoline last week. That is $-296.5 mil YoY..


US avg retail price for gasoline was $3.534 last week. That is -1.059 YoY.


Rig Watch

Baker Hughes Weekly North American Rigs Report

  • US Baker Hughes Rig Count 19-May: 720 (prev 731)
  • Rotary Gas Rigs: 141 (prev 141)
  • Rotary Oil Rigs: 575 (prev 586)

US Oil Rigs w/w changes by key shale basins

  • Permian -4 to 346
  • Eagle Ford -3 to 57
  • Williston unchanged at 38
  • Cana Woodford unchanged at 24
  • DJ Niobrara -1 to 15
via @staunovo

US oil rigs and frac spread (Baker Hughes/Primary Vision)

US oil rigs and frac spread (Baker Hughes/Primary Vision)

Canada Rigs

  • Canada’s weekly rig count at 140 April 14, 2023
  • Canada averaged 140 active drilling rigs this week according to data from the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors. Of those rigs, 45% are drilling for natural gas, 41% are drilling for oil, 3% for other (helium, hydrogen, geothermal, lithium, or potash), and 11% are moving.
  • Drilling activity by province is 81% in Alberta, 17% in BC, 1% in Saskatchewan, and 1% elsewhere.
  • Precision Drilling holds the majority of the Canadian market share with 35%, Ensign Drilling with 22%, Savanna Drilling with 10%, Horizon Drilling with 7%, and Akita Drilling with 5%. View a full breakdown of Western Canada’s rig activity .
  • BOE Report

International oil rigs ex North America

International oil rigs ex North America +22 m/m to 725 in March via Baker Hughes

  • Saudi Arabia +6
  • Turkey +5
  • Mexico +4
  • UK +3
  • Algeria +3
  • Nigeria +2
  • Norway -2
  • Libya -4

US Oil Production

US crude production changed benchmark April 12, 2023: US oil production: This week’s domestic crude oil production estimate incorporates a re-benchmarking that increased estimated volumes by 105,000 barrels per day, which is about 0.9% of this week’s estimated production total.

US Oil Field Production +100kbpd bpd to 12.30mbpd (New Benchmark adj)


“North Dakota’s Bakken shale field — once the largest and busiest American shale patch — is showing signs of age, threatening to hold back US oil production as the world thirsts for more crude. Mature wells that are producing more gas than expected are hurting crude output from the Bakken, the Energy Information Administration said… The deteriorating performance was a main reason the agency cut its estimate for 2024 US oil output to 12.65 million barrels a day from an earlier projection of 12.8 million… Even at the lowered estimate for next year, US output would still set a record, surpassing the 12.3 million barrels a day produced in 2019.”

February 7 – Bloomberg (Sheela Tobben)

OPEC Crude Oil Production

OPEC’s crude oil output fell 80k b/d last month according to Bloomberg. Biggest changes being a 110kbd reductions from Angola to 990kbd a 19-yr low, Iraq (-50kbd), KSA (-30kbd) and Nigeria (+80kbd).

via Ole Hansen/Bloomberg 4/4/23

Weather Watch

Gulf of Mexico

WTI Crude Oil Futures Technical Analysis

via KnovaWave @KnovaWave

US Crude Oil (WTI)

Daily: WTI Crude Oil had a sharp spillover emotive wave down this week creating a clear double bottom but short of the outside down trend line, giving alternatives. The move came after completing the correction in 3 waves, the gap fill and fail of the daily bull flag back in Oct/Nov through tenkan, kijun and 50dma right to the bottom of the cloud such was the impulse. For bulls needs to break above those descending levels for higher. We are in a completive mode with this impulse, it’s a question of degree on the topside, use the Murrey math 240/60 grid. From there down in 3 waves, completing a C or IV? Support is previous lows. The bear case is the high was a complete 5.

Weekly: WTI crude Oil futures have simply gathered downside momentum since it spat the key 61.8% with impulse, having plunged more than $60 off the June highs. WTI was never able to take on its sphere of influence. WTI completed 3 waves and spat the 50wma after the since filled OPEC+ gap up underscoring its weakness. This week’s lows underscore the support here, no less than 5 times since April 2021. Risk support is the grid. Long term 61.8% target fueled the spit of a spit by after rebalanced Chikou sated. Resistance Weekly Kijun, tenkan, cloud and Murrey Math levels and previous breaks (off monthly). Bear case is Wave 5 complete.

The key is crowd behavior to help tell the story which in energy is often around geopolitics. A great example of why we watch ABC corrections and from here we get the energy from the break being balanced. This move that was powered by 50 dma Tenkan spit of a spit – hence the fractal energies reverberations.

These are special times, recall “After we regained the pattern 261.8% from the extreme (-$40) move. The climax of the larger acceleration lower after broke the weekly uptrend, a fractal of the sharp and all the way to all-time lows to negative pricing we have seen mirror replications.” Above we have Murrey Math time and price

What we broke…….

Crude Oil in the past quarter built a huge bull flag. We watch if the recent break was false, or we fail. Very clear pattern.

The focus remains 85.61-88.01 a region defined by the 2013 low, the 100% extension of the March decline and the 61.8.% retracement of the November advance. A break below opens up the objective 2020 yearly open and 2018 high at 75.35-76.87. This would become an area of interest for downside exhaustion and price inflection potentially. Initial weekly the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of the June decline at 100.21. Broader bearish invalidation now lowered to the June high-week close / 61.8% retracement at 109.16-110

Crude Oil Futures Commitment of Traders

Latest ICE and CFTC Open Interest Data:

CTFC and ICE open interest:

Money managers reduced their net-length in Brent crude oil futures and options by 6,020 contracts to 106,722 in the week ending May 16 via ICE

  • Long-only positions fell by 11,427
  • Short-only positions fell by 5,407
  • other reportables net-length rose by 3,336

Money managers reduced their net-length in WTI crude oil futures and options by 11,633 contracts to 160,293 in the week ending May 16 via CFTC

  • Long-only positions rose by 136
  • Short-only positions rose by 11,769
  • other reportables net-length fell by 15,155
May 19, 2023

Chart: Crude net-positioning of non-commercial accounts (=managed money and other reportables) in barrels and in US dollars (Brent and WTI futures and options combined) latest value is May 16, 2023

COT on Commodities

COT in Oil Complex week to May 16: Crude oil selling extended to a fourth week with the comb. WTI and Brent long cut by 17.6k to 267k and near the post-banking and pre-OPEC+ cut low at 241k lots. Improved refinery margins supported a 28% reduction in the gas oil short to 8k while ULSD flipped back to a 7k lots net long via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen

Finally, a bit of calm in crude oil following weeks of major position adjustments. Overall the combined net long in WTI and Brent at 285k lots is 190k lots or 40% below the exposure seen ahead of the March banking crisis, OPEC+ cuts and rising global growth/demand concerns

Money managers in commodities covering the week to May 9: Net exposure across 24 futures contracts held near a June 2020 low at 702k lots. Selling of energy (Brent and RBOB) being offset by fresh demand for ags led by corn, wheat, sugar and cotton. Small changes seen in metals ahead of correction via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen


via Ole S Hansen @Ole_S_Hansen


Understanding DCOT Reports

Read Understanding Commitments of Traders Reports – COT, TFF and DCOT  to help understand the disaggregated reports (DCOT) and how they break down the reportable open interest positions into four classifications:

1. Producer/Merchant/Processor/User 2. Swap Dealers 3. Managed Money 4. Other Reportables

Crude Oil Option Volatility Watch



NYMEX LO = Crude Oil Options First 3 Months (Live Link)


NYMEX LO & ICE North Sea Brent BRN Crude Oil Options (Live Link)



NYMEX LO NYMEX OB Options (Live Link)


Energy Earnings Highlights for Q4 2022

Key EIA and CME Dates for WTI Crude Oil

Key EIA and CME Dates For WTI Crude Oil

From The TradersCommunity US Research Desk