U.S. Storage Filling Up with Unaccounted-For Oil

October 11, 2016

In a joint post Art Berman and Matt Mushalik analyzed US crude oil inventories as reported by the EIA. Stocks should usually grow or decline based on the physical balance of oil production, imports, exports and refinery use of this oil. But when looking at the weekly data there is a mismatch between reported stocks and expected stocks which can be calculated as follows: Crude field production + crude imports – crude exports – refinery intake. It was found that reported stocks have been generally higher than implied stocks, especially after 2010 (the beginning of the shale oil boom) and then again end 2014 when oil prices dropped. The differences mean:

1. Crude field production is underestimated
2. Net crude oil imports are underestimated
3. Refinery inputs are overreported
4. Crude oil stocks are overreported

or any combination of those possibilities.

Unaccounted-for oil in U.S. storage: the result of adjustments to the supply balance. Source: EIA Petroleum Status Weekly, Crude Oil Peak and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

The authors do not blame anyone for these discrepancies but conclude:

"In several Sherlock Holmes mystery stories, author Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

We have not eliminated any impossible explanations. We have, however, eliminated the three most improbable explanations for unaccounted-for oil. Therefore, the most likely explanation—however improbable—is that inventories are not as high as they are reported."

The original post can be viewed at these websites: http://www.artberman.com/u-s-storage-filling-up-with-unaccounted-for-oil/or http://crudeoilpeak.info/u-s-storage-filling-up-with-unaccounted-for-oil

Matt Mushalik

Matt Mushalik, is a CPEng (Chartered Professional Engineer) and runs the blog Crude Oil Peak.

Tags: Oil, oil storage, US oil production