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Oil Prices Strengthened by US Inventory Figures, Russian Refinery Assaults

Oil Prices Strengthened by US Inventory Figures, Russian Refinery
rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustra... rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/file photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Oil Prices Strengthened by US Inventory Figures, Russian Refinery
rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustra... rising stock graph are seen in this illustration taken January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/file photo Purchase Licensing Rights

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Oil Prices Strengthened by US Inventory Figures, Russian Refinery Assaults

On March 14th, in Beijing, oil prices continued their upward trend in Asian trading on Thursday. This was driven by a surprise decrease in U.S. crude stockpiles, indicating a strengthening demand, and concerns over potential supply disruptions following Ukrainian attacks on Russian refineries.

Brent futures rose by 10 cents, or 0.12%, reaching $84.13 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude increased by 7 cents, or 0.9%, to $79.79 per barrel as of 0115 GMT.

The surge in prices followed a 3% increase to a four-month high on Wednesday, fueled by optimistic U.S. demand forecasts and heightened geopolitical tensions. Ukrainian drone strikes targeted Russian refining facilities for the second consecutive day, resulting in a fire at Rosneft’s largest refinery, marking a significant blow to Russia’s energy sector.

After the attack on Lukoil’s refinery in Nizhny Novgorod on Tuesday, Ukraine struck refineries in the Rostov and Ryazan regions. In Ryazan, a drone attack caused a fire at Rosneft’s refinery, forcing the shutdown of two primary oil refining units, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries on Wednesday that Russia was technically prepared for nuclear war, further intensifying geopolitical uncertainties.

On the demand side, U.S. crude oil inventories unexpectedly declined as processing increased and gasoline inventories decreased, reflecting strong demand ahead of the summer driving season, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Crude inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels to 447 million barrels in the week ended March 8, ending six consecutive weeks of builds, contrary to analysts’ expectations for a 1.3 million barrel increase. Gasoline inventories also declined for the sixth consecutive week, dropping by 5.7 million barrels to 234.1 million barrels, significantly higher than the anticipated 1.9 million barrel draw.

Moreover, stocks of motor fuel at the U.S. Gulf Coast reached their lowest levels since November 2022, while finished motor gasoline supplied, indicative of demand, rose to over 9 million barrels per day for the first time this year, increasing by 30,000 barrels per day.


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