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Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 22, 2017

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending December 22, 2017




U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 17.4 million barrels per day during the week ending December 22, 2017, 335,000 barrels per day more than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 95.7% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging above 10.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 5.5 million barrels per day.
 
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.0 million barrels per day last week, up by 159,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.6 million barrels per day, 5.9% less than the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 388,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 239,000 barrels per day last week.
 
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.6 million barrels from the previous week. At 431.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week, and are above the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased while blending components inventories increased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels last week and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased by 2.7 million barrels last week, but are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.8 million barrels last week.
 

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 20.6 million barrels per day, up by 3.5% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged over 9.2 million barrels per day, up by 2.0% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.1 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 0.7% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is up 12.4% compared to the same four-week period last year.


Black Blade: This week's EIA Petroleum Inventory Status Report is MODERATELY BULLISH as inventories overall declined with the exception of a small increase in gasoline. Refinery utilization remains exceptionally strong nearly 96% and the colder than normal temps are driving energy demand for heating. What's not to love? Then there's OPEC which has for the first time it appears to be holding the line on quotas which is a real shocker as OPEC has always "cheated" and that has undermined the whole point of restricting over production. The question is how much US Shale producers will expand in the next year - my guess is not that much. Why? Because they simply don't have the means, the people, the equipment and the financing from willing backers flush with cash (although that could change). Another factor working against Shale producers is that the infrastructure is already stretched to the max and more pipelines are needed  and many places require the "capture" of natgas and that also requires more pipelines which many states and localities are not all that interested in permitting. Only rising prices that lead to consumers demanding government "do something" will permitting for infrastructure expansion be expedited  - that's how we got the Alaska Pipeline permitted and built. As of now it appears that energy prices will rise further from here and maybe stabilize in the upper $60s per barrel range next year and then leg up multiple times until infrastructure demands are met of we get a economic collapse into a deep recession or worse killing energy demand. As for the consumer-government demands on expanding energy production and distribution to head off outrageous prices increases - it's their call at this point.

As always, get out of debt and stay out of debt, accumulate physical silver and gold bullion as "portfolio insurance" and stockpile supplies of long term nonperishable foods and basic necessities into food storage. After all, we do "live in interesting times".