The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the condition of petroleum inventories in the United States today.

Here are some highlights:

CRUDE INVENTORIES:
Crude oil inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels to a total of 339.2 million barrels. At 339.2 million barrels, inventories are 5.8 million barrels below last year (-1.7%) and are in the upper limit of the average range.

GASOLINE INVENTORIES:
Gasoline inventories increased by 1.6 million barrels to 231.8 million barrels. At 231.8 million barrels, inventories are 9.1 million barrels, or 3.8% lower than last year. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (N/C); Midwest (+0.4mb); Gulf Coast (+1.1mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.1mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels to a total of 146.6 million barrels. At 146.6 million barrels, inventories are now 10.8% lower than a year ago. Total distillate inventories stand 17.8 million barrels lower than their year ago level.

REFINERY OUTPUT/UTILIZATION:
Refinery utilization rose to 82.8%, a change of 1.0% vs. last week's numbers. Gasoline production decreased slightly last week averaging 8.6 million barrels per day while distillate fuel production increased, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

Utilization rates for the last week were as follows: East Coast: 55.8%, Midwest: 91.8%, Gulf Coast: 84.7%, Rocky Mountain: 91.9%, West Coast: 79.0%. These percentages show how much of a region's overall capacity were used to refine oil. It is important to note these percentages, because the lower the utilization percent, the lower output, which has a direct impact on local gasoline prices. If refiners in your region have low output, your more likely to see prices rise.

OVERALL SUPPLY:
Total oil stocks in the United States are down 18.4 million barrels (-1.7%) over last year and stand at 1.0596 billion barrels (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

IMPORTS/EXPORTS:
The U.S. imported 1.045 million barrels per day of gasoline and 192,000bpd of distillate fuels. However, during the same time frame, the U.S. exported 626,000bpd of gasoline and 996,000bpd (million barrels per day) of distillates. In total, U.S. refineries exported 2.92 million barrels per DAY of oil and products! (These are four week rolling averages)

COMMENTS:
A decent report. While gasoline/oil inventories are consistently running behind last year's pace, lower demand so far this year will likely mean that the all important "days of supply" number will rise and offset the appearance of shrinking inventories. Note that in the Midwest and Rockies, where refineries run cheaper Canadian crude, refinery utilization is consistently over 90%.