Crude oil futures were flat Friday, clinging to this weeks significant gains amid U.S. rig count data. The total oil rig count held at 844 in the week to May 18, according to Baker Hughes. Thats after U.S drillers added many rigs in the past few weeks in hopes of capitalizing on surging oil prices. WTI light sweet crude oil was at $ 71.28/bbl, down 21 cents, or 0.3%. Still, oil posted a wekly gain of nearly 1 percent, touching a fresh 4-year peak along the way.
Prices rose amid amid speculation OPEC supplies are dwindling.OPEC officials told Reuters that this months spike in oil prices is due to temporary geopolitical tensions and not a fundamental re-balance in oil markets. Therefore, the carter is expected to continue its supply quota plan with Russia. The EIA reported that U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 16.6 million barrels per day during the week ending May 11, 2018, 149,000 barrels per day more than the previous weeks average. Refineries operated at 91.1% of their operable capacity last week. This is up week over week but still down year over year. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging about 10.5 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging over 5.0 million barrels per day. Despite rising imports stocks moved lower. The EIA revealed that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 432.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Gasoline inventories decreased by 3.8 million barrels last week while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 0.7 million barrels last week.Demand remain strong. The EIA reported that total products demand the last month averaged about 20.1 million barrels per day, up by 1.5% year over year. Over the last month, gasoline demand averaged about 9.4 million barrels per day, up by 0.7% year over year. Distillate fuel demand averaged about 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 3.0% year over year. The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise build of 4.854 million barrels of crude oil inventories for the week ending May 11, compared to analyst expectations that this week would see a smaller draw in crude oil inventories of 763,000 barrels. The API reported a draw in gasoline inventories for week ending May 11 in the amount of 3.369 million barrels, a bigger draw than the 1.421-million-barrel draw that analysts had expected.